Driver nearly struck pedestrian, then shot him, prosecutors say

A driver nearly hit a pedestrian in an Edgewater crosswalk, then shot the man without provocation on Friday, prosecutors said. But Chicago police officers caught a break when they received a description of the gunman over the radio and realized that they had just pulled over a likely suspect for a traffic violation—and there was a spent shell casing on his passenger seat.

The shooting occurred just after midnight in the 1000 block of West Catalpa.

Officials said that a 39-year-old security guard who works in the neighborhood was crossing the street when Matthew Cobbins, 36, pulled up to the crosswalk and almost struck him.

Matthew Cobbins | CPD; File

The guard made eye contact with Cobbins, then continued through the crosswalk. But Cobbins pulled out a gun and fired three rounds toward the victim, striking him once in the lower left leg, prosecutor Lisa Sterba said Sunday.

As Cobbins sped away in his BMW, the guard returned to work and called for help. Chicago police radioed a description of the car after meeting with the victim.

Coincidentally, other officers had just stopped Cobbins for a traffic violation nearby. Sterba said that they detained him and recovered a gun from under his driver’s seat and a shell casing from the passenger seat.

Tests linked the gun to the shell casings police found at the shooting scene, she said. Cobbins had a concealed carry license and a license to own firearms in Illinois, but they are suspended because he has an order of protection against him.

Cobbins’ public defender questioned the ability of police to conduct a firearms test within 48 hours of a shooting, particularly on the weekend. She said he has a master’s degree in human resources development and works at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Office.

Prosecutors charged him with aggravated battery by discharging a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Judge David Navarro granted a state motion to hold him without bail.

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