Prosecutors said Friday that a Chicago man on parole for possessing a stolen motor vehicle and on bail for possessing another motor vehicle shot a concealed carry holder during a carjacking attempt in the South Loop.
Cortez Crayton, 24, is the 45th person accused of killing or shooting—or attempting to kill or shoot—someone in Chicago while awaiting trial for a felony this year. The alleged crimes involved at least 83 victims, 21 of whom died.
Early on May 1, a concealed carry holder parked his Audi Q7 near Michigan and 23rd Street in the South Loop and got out to talk to some people across the street. As he conversed, an SUV rolled up next to his car, and a man wearing a ski mask jumped out of its back seat and into his driver’s seat.
Prosecutors said that when the car’s owner approached the Audi, the man in the driver’s seat fired at least one shot at him. The victim, 35, pulled out his own gun and fired back.
People in the offenders’ SUV also fired shots at the victim as he took cover and the entire incident was captured on video. Officials said the victim suffered a gunshot wound to his leg.
Chicago police tested blood found on the passenger seat of the victim’s car and determined that it came from Crayton, prosecutors said. Crayton’s DNA was in a police database because he was found guilty of murder when he was 14-years-old.
Prosecutors said Crayton remained in custody for the murder case until he turned 21. However, Illinois Department of Corrections records show he was arrested in 2018 at the age of 20 for possessing a stolen motor vehicle. He received a six-year sentence, served half of it, and was released in June 2021, according to IDOC.
Barely seven months later, in January, he was charged with possessing another stolen motor vehicle in suburban Lansing, court records show. IDOC did not revoke his parole for picking up a new criminal case, and a judge who is not named in court records told him he could go home by paying a $1,000 deposit toward bail. Crayton posted the cash the same day.
In an unusual coincidence, the man who was shot in the South Loop is a former juvenile corrections officer who recognized Crayton in a photo line-up as someone who was incarcerated during his time on the job, prosecutors said. But the victim could not identify Crayton as the person who shot at him because the gunman wore a ski mask.
Crayton is now charged with aggravated battery by discharging a firearm and attempted vehicular hijacking while armed with a firearm.
His public defender, Patrick Shine, pointed out that there are no indications that Crayton was injured in a way that would cause him to lose blood inside the victim’s car.
Judge Charles Beach ordered Crayton held without bail on the new charges; held without bail for violating the terms of bond in the suburban stolen motor vehicle case; and held without bail until IDOC reviews his parole status.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.
The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data.
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