After Lorenzo Clark was charged with a felony for allegedly having a gun in a car two years ago in Chicago, he received a golden opportunity. In exchange for pleading guilty, he was given first-time gun offender probation. If he did well, the charge against him would be dismissed.
Clark, 22, has no other criminal background. His lawyer says he is a high school graduate, the father of two, and has worked for six years at a fast-food restaurant, where he is now a manager.
While still on probation Sunday night, prosecutors allege, Clark tossed the potential of a fresh start aside to rob a pizza delivery driver, firing a gun twice at point-blank range next to the victim’s head — and missing.
A little after 11 p.m., a bicyclist was robbed of their phone and a white Mongoose bike with distinctive accessories in Chicago Lawn. Minutes later, someone riding a similar bike rode up to a pizza delivery driver who had just returned to his car after dropping off an order in the 7100 block of South Washtenaw.
The man on the bike, wearing a ski mask and prescription glasses, “made at least ten attempts” to sell the driver some pot, prosecutor Rhianna Biernat said.
But the driver refused the offers and put his car into gear. As he did, the man on the bike placed the barrel of a gun to his neck and demanded his property.
The driver slammed the accelerator and leaned to the right. His tires spun on the rain-slickened pavement, and the gunman, with his arm still inside the vehicle, fired two shots.
One bullet lodged in the car’s dashboard near the odometer, Biernat said. The other round also missed the driver, who, other than suffering ringing in the ears, was unharmed.
He returned to the restaurant and met with Chicago police.
Meanwhile, other officers tracked the bicyclist’s stolen phone to a specific house in the neighborhood, Biernat said. They went there, and three men came out. A white Mongoose bike with distinctive accessories was allegedly found inside the home.
One of those men was Clark, wearing a white hoodie with a logo on the front and tight jeans. According to Biernat, those are clothes similar to what the gunman who shot at the restaurant worker wore.
The deliveryman was brought to the scene, and he identified Clark as the shooter. Police performed a gunshot residue test on Clark’s hands to determine if he may have fired a weapon around the time of his arrest. The results are still outstanding.
Prosecutors charged Clark with attempted first-degree murder but not with trying to rob the pizza driver. No one has been charged with robbing the bicyclist.
Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber noted during Clark’s bail hearing that the clothes Clark wore were common, and he wasn’t wearing glasses or a ski mask. And, she argued, how could the driver identify Clark as the shooter if the shooter was masked up?
Farber also argued that a “show-up,” in which police detain a suspect within minutes of a crime and then ask the victim if they caught the right person, is the “most suggestive” identification procedure because victims aren’t shown other people for consideration.
Judge Susana Ortiz acknowledged that Farber presented good arguments on Clark’s behalf. But she pointed out that the gunman allegedly made at least ten attempts to sell the driver weed, potentially enough time for the victim to see the gunman clearly.
The judge also pointed out that the burden of proof necessary to hold Clark without bail is lower than the level needed to win a conviction. She then granted the state’s no-bail request.
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