Driver shot at motorist during Chinatown road rage incident, weeks after getting ‘first-time gun offender probation’

Chicago — Prosecutors say a Chicago man opened fire on another driver during a road rage incident near Chinatown, just two months after he was given “first-time gun offender probation,” a special program that, if completed, would result in the case ending without a conviction and making it eligible for expungement.

But that possibility is in jeopardy now for Romeo Torres, 18, who was ordered held without bail on Tuesday by Judge William Fahy.

On February 26 at around 10 p.m., a shooting unfolded on the ramp from Cermak Road to the southbound Dan Ryan Expressway, officials said.

Romeo Torres | Cook County sheriff’s office

The victim, who had an active dashcam, honked his horn and drove around a Volkswagen as they neared the ramp, prosecutor Lorraine Scaduto said. As he did, the driver of a Hyundai Sonata drove in front of the victim, and the victim tried to pass between the Volkswagen and the Sonata.

The driver of the Sonata pulled over on the ramp, got out, and fired one shot toward the victim, striking the victim’s driver-side door but causing no injuries, according to Scaduto. The incident was captured on camera by two nearby businesses.

Scaduto said that the victim only spoke Mandarin, so he went home and asked a friend to assist him in reporting the incident to police. Investigators discovered a shell casing on the entrance ramp and discovered that the Sonata belongs to Torres’ girlfriend.

They towed the car from in front of her house a few hours after the incident. She later told Illinois State Police investigators that she was riding in the car when Torres got involved in a road rage incident on the ramp in Chinatown, Scaduto said, but she blacked out and couldn’t remember any details about what happened. The victim also identified Torres in a photo line-up, according to Scaduto.

He surrendered to the ISP on Monday to face a charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Torres, a trucking school student, and his girlfriend are expecting twin daughters any day, his private defense attorney said during Torres’ bail hearing.

In addition to holding Torres without bail for violating first-time gun offender probation, Judge William Fahy ordered him to pay a $15,000 bail deposit in the new case.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com