Chicago — After Tracey Showers was shot and killed in front of her adult daughter on February 28, Chicago news outlets reported that she had been struck by a “stray bullet.” On Saturday, though, prosecutors said it was no accident. It was intentional, they said, part of a random shooting spree undertaken by a man with no criminal background.
During a bond hearing, prosecutor Paul Kiefer explained how Chicago police solved the case by patching together information from Chicago’s ShotSpotter gunfire detection network, video cameras, and GPS data from another man’s electronic monitoring bracelet.
The crime spree began with an armed robbery and carjacking in suburban Oak Park around 8:51 p.m. on February 28. Kiefer said two masked and armed men confronted a married couple who had just parked in the 200 block of Washington. They took the couple’s keys, wallets, and other valuables, then drove away with their silver Audi Q5.
Police recovered the Audi in Oak Park two days later. Inside, they found 11 shell casings and a pay stub belonging to Nick Razzino, a 20-year-old Oak Park resident who was on electronic home monitoring for a pending felony gun case, Kiefer said.
Investigators later found two credit cards and a dental appointment card belonging to the couple inside Razzino’s apartment, according to Kiefer.
Through an investigation, police determined that the other hijacker was 23-year-old Baseer Muhammad of Chicago. Surveillance videos and data from Razzino’s ankle monitor showed the pair left Razzino’s apartment, carjacked the couple, and then drove back to Razzino’s house, Kiefer said.
Within minutes, Muhammad allegedly left the apartment alone, got into the carjacked Audi, and set off on a solo shooting spree. Kiefer said he first stopped in the 1400 block of North Lorel, got out, and opened fire on a man sitting in a car. The victim, who was not injured, ran to a nearby home to get help.
Moments after that, around 9:36 p.m., Tracey Showers parked her Nissan Rogue on the parking pad behind her home in the 5500 block of West Le Moyne. As they exited the car, her daughter heard a pop. She turned around and discovered that her mother had been shot in the head, said Kiefer. Tracey Showers, 55, died.
Video showed the stolen Audi had pulled up behind Showers and her daughter after they parked, and a ShotSpotter detected one gunshot in the area.
Over the next three minutes, ShotSpotters detected gunfire in three locations along the path the stolen Audi took, Kiefer said. Chicago police, guided by the ShotSpotter location data, recovered one shell casing from each of those locations.
More video showed Muhammad returning to the area around Razzino’s apartment at 10:20 p.m. GPS data from Razzino’s ankle monitor confirmed that he was home at the time of the shootings, Kiefer said.
Oak Park police arrested Muhammad on March 8 after he allegedly climbed into the driver’s seat of a recently-hijacked car that was parked on the same block where investigators found the Audi Q5 one week earlier.
After removing Muhammad from the car, cops found a loaded handgun on the seat. Kiefer said lab tests determined it is the gun that ejected casings found at the shooting scene on Lorel and at the three ShotSpotter alerts that followed Showers’ murder. When they searched his home, they allegedly found a single 9-millimeter bullet with a headstamp identical to some of the casings found at the various shooting locations.
Muhammed is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault by discharging a firearm, possessing a stolen motor vehicle, and three counts of reckless discharge of a firearm that endangers others.
His private defense attorney, Brittany Kimble, argued strongly against the state’s request to have Muhammad held without bail.
She said he is “very ambitious” and has been employed as a janitor and at a moving company since graduating high school. He was a semi-pro soccer player who now uses those talents to mentor kids.
But Judge Maryam Ahmad was not convinced, recalling “the random nature that this occurred. To just pull up on somebody, two women, and pull out a gun and shoot one of them in the head.”
“The fact that you have surveillance video basically showing him shooting his way down a city street… and then coming back like nothing happened,” she said, was enough for her to grant the no-bail hold.
On March 2, the same day that Oak Park police found the hijacked Audi used in the shooting spree, two churches offered a $10,000 reward for information about Showers’ murder.
Block Club Chicago reported that Showers’ husband, Pernell, was among those who spoke at the conference.
“The light that shines so bright in my family dimmed,” he said. “This community will suffer because Tracey is not in it. She spent many years serving the community and tirelessly working to make sure everyone had something.”
Also speaking was Showers’ daughter, Janea Kitchen.
“She loved her church, her family and anyone she came into contact with. I love you, mom. I’m so proud of you.”