One day after a mass shooting left a man dead and four others injured in Back of the Yards on May 10, CPD Supt. David Brown held a press conference. Jarring video of the shooting had just emerged, showing a school child running for cover as the shooting unfolded behind them. Brown, with news cameras rolling, was ready to name names.
The mass shooting, Brown said, was part of a weeks-long gang war fueled by a high-ranking gang member who was on a $1,000 bond for a felony gun case that he picked up just four days after being released from federal prison.
Then, in a highly unusual move, Brown named the man he believed was driving the violence: Sergio Barron.
Over the weekend, Chicago police arrested Barron again. Prosecutors said he was riding in a vehicle with cocaine in his hand and a handgun equipped with a drum magazine at his feet on the floorboard. And he was still on that $1,000 bond for the March gun case.
He’s now being held without bail.
Not quite right
As it turns out, Brown didn’t have all of his facts straight. Barron did, in fact, get charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in March. He was arrested four days after completing state parole for an aggravated assault case, not four days after being paroled from federal prison.
In the aggravated assault matter, Barron received an eight-year sentence in 2017 for aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault of a police officer, prosecutors said at his March bail hearing. The charges stemmed from a case in which he allegedly fired a gun into an occupied car and then pointed the weapon at responding police officers.
According to a court transcript, the prosecutor during the March bail hearing also said Barron had been released from federal custody on March 20, four days before he was allegedly found with another gun. It’s not clear how both the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Chicago’s police superintendent both made the same incorrect claim about Barron being on federal parole.
March gun case
Barron was in court on March 24 because police allegedly found a loaded and stolen handgun in his car when they responded to a ShotSpotter alert in the 4800 block of South Loomis — a block from where the May mass shooting occurred. Prosecutors said cops saw Barron recklessly reversing down the street when they arrived. After police found the gun between his driver’s seat and center console, Barron admitted to having the gun for personal protection, according to prosecutors.
After hearing the allegations and incorrect information that Barron had been on federal parole for just four days, Judge Maryam Ahmad told Barron he could go home by posting a 10% bail deposit of $1,000.
“Our police officers did their job,” Brown said in May, speaking about the March gun case. “They took a gun off the street [from] a felon who had a violent history. That felon got a cash bond.”
“The risk assessment on violent offenders by our judges needs to get better,” Brown continued.
He said CPD was trying to get prosecutors to revoke Barron’s bond and “get him back.”
That, apparently, did not happen.
Another gun arrest
On Sunday, Barron was the passenger in a truck that Chicago police stopped for a traffic violation, Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Haamid said. Cops who approached the vehicle saw a plastic bag containing knotted baggies of suspected cocaine in his hand, the prosecutor continued.
When officers asked Barron to exit the truck, he allegedly left the door open, allowing officers to see a loaded handgun with a drum magazine attachment lying on the floorboard where he was seated. The truck’s driver denied ownership of the gun, he said.
Haamid told the judge about the case in which Barron was convicted of shooting at an occupied car and pointing a gun at pursuing officers. He also correctly told the judge that Barron was discharged from parole in March.
The judge Haamid was talking to on Monday was Maryam Ahmad, the same judge who allowed Barron out of custody in March for just $1,000.
Citing “glaring irregularities,” Barrons’ private defense attorney called out “the implausibility of the whole story” that Barron would be holding drugs in his hand as police were walking up to the truck.
Ahmad was not swayed. She said she is familiar with the size of drum magazines, which commonly hold 50 rounds of ammunition for handguns. The judge said an attachment of that size would be easily visible.
“He’s on the court’s bail right now,” she continued. “He can’t, as I say, breathe on a firearm.
She then granted the state’s request to hold Barron without bail on charges of Class X armed violence, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and possessing a controlled substance. Separately, Ahmad held Barron without bail for violating the terms of bond in his March gun case, which is still pending.
Despite Brown’s public allegations, Chicago police have not arrested anyone in connection with the mass shooting.