Chicago — Prosecutors have charged a Chicago man with attempted murder for allegedly pursuing a carload of people as his passengers fired on the other vehicle, injuring a 3-year-old girl.
Arsenio Harden, 34, was on bond at the time of the shooting for a case in which he was accused of escaping from the police after his accomplice struck a Chicago officer with their car.
He is the 56th person accused of killing or shooting—or trying to kill or shoot—someone in Chicago last year while having a felony case pending. At least 99 people were allegedly victimized in the crimes, 25 of whom died.
Harden has a growing criminal history, including a 2010 conviction for assaulting a police officer with a firearm and manufacture-delivery of heroin in 2015, officials said. Also in 2015, prosecutors accused him of participating in a triple murder in 2010, according to news reports. But the outcome of that case was not immediately available.
He made news again in 2019 when Chicago police handcuffed Harden after pulling over a car he was riding in. Harden ordered the driver to speed away, and the car’s passenger door struck a cop as the vehicle sped away, prosecutors said.
Harden was charged with five counts of aggravated battery of a peace officer and escape from a police officer by a felon. He pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated battery in a public place on October 24 last year and received a 30-month sentence from Judge James Obbish. The sentence was offset by credits.
But before he pleaded guilty, while still on bond, he allegedly participated in the shooting that left that 3-year-old girl injured.
Officials said surveillance cameras recorded Harden and three other people at a gas station in the 4300 block of West Cermak around 11 p.m. on September 16, 2022. Harden was driving his girlfriend’s BMW and had three passengers, two of whom had brandished guns at a passing car just a few minutes earlier outside a nearby liquor store, Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Dale-Schmidt said during Harden’s bond hearing last week.
Video allegedly shows the BMW following the victims’ car out of the service station lot, then speeding after the vehicle, swerving in and out of lanes in an attempt to pull alongside it.
As the cars moved along Cermak Road, shots were fired from the BMW, and pedestrians were seen running for cover, Dale-Schmidt said. Chicago police surveillance cameras showed both cars running red lights, with the victim’s vehicle in front, followed by the BMW.
Dale-Schmidt said the BMW eventually fled the scene, and the victims flagged down a Chicago police officer to get help. Five people were in the bullet-riddled car, including a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old girl, whose head was cut by flying glass after a bullet shattered the back window.
Police found 25 shell casings along Cermak Road from three different guns, according to Dale-Schmidt.
On December 18, Harden was arrested after Berwyn police allegedly found him with a firearm that lab tests subsequently connected to the September shooting. Prosecutors charged him with Class X armed habitual criminal. Officials said he was sent to prison for about a month for parole violation and then went home by posting a $2,500 bail deposit.
Then, on March 3, still on parole and on bail for the armed habitual criminal case, Harden jumped out of a window as police served a narcotics-related search warrant, Dale-Schmidt said. They caught him and allegedly found $1,418 in cash on his person, including $50 in “marked” currency that cops allegedly used to purchase narcotics.
During Harden’s bail hearing last week, private defense attorney Jennifer Snyder pointed out that he is not accused of firing toward the car or injuring the 3-year-old. She also told Judge William Fahy that, despite all of the pending allegations against Harden, the state is not planning to revoke his parole.
Still, Fahy granted the state’s motion to hold Harden without bail.
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.
Previous installments of the “not horrible” series are available here.
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