CHICAGO — On Wednesday, six years to the day after he was shot and nearly killed by a Chicago police officer that he pinned between two cars while trying to escape in a stolen SUV, Kayin Wise was back in court.
Prosecutors say he was one of three people who crashed in a stolen car that burst into flames as a federal law enforcement helicopter surveilled them from the air. Cops say they found four handguns, two of which were stolen, inside the car.
But let’s start at the beginning, on May 24, 2017.
Officers injured, driver shot
Just after 11 o’clock that morning, two Chicago police officers patrolling in the Austin neighborhood saw Wise standing beside a stolen Nissan Murano in an alley. The day before, other officers saw Wise driving the Murano and tried to pull him over, but he sped away, and they ended the pursuit because he was driving at unsafe speeds, according to records from CPD and COPA, the city’s police oversight agency.
When the cops got out to confront Wise in the alley, Wise got into the SUV and sped away, striking one officer in the leg and hitting their squad car. The officers followed until Wise slammed into a white Audi occupied by a woman and her six-year-old grandchild.
Wise, who turned 18 just ten days earlier, backed into their squad car as two more cops arrived and joined the first two officers in ordering Wise to stop.
He didn’t. Instead, investigators determined, he drove toward an officer he knew from previous contacts and pinned the officer against the Audi and a patrol car. The pinned officer screamed in pain as Wise revved the engine, keeping the cop pinned between the vehicles.
Fearing for his life, the trapped officer fired three shots at Wise, striking him in the neck and arm. Only then did the stolen Murano’s engine stop revving.
Police found a loaded handgun inside the Murano next to the driver’s seat.
The city hired security firm Hillard Heintze to review investigations of the incident conducted by COPA and its predecessor, IPRA. Both city agencies and Hillard Heintze found that the officer was justified in shooting Wise.
In 2019, Wise was found guilty of six felonies: aggravated battery causing great bodily harm to a peace officer; aggravated battery of a peace officer; aiding or abetting possession of a stolen motor vehicle; aggravated fleeing causing bodily injury; aggravated unlawful use of a weapon; and aggravated fleeing through two or more traffic control devices.
Wise was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of various lengths, the longest being 12 years for pinning the officer with the SUV.
The sentence was cut in half for good behavior, and, with additional credits, Wise was released from prison on March 24, less than six years after being arrested, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.
On Tuesday, CPD’s vehicular hijacking task force spotted a freshly stolen Dodge Charger near Clinton and Jackson, behind Union Station.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s high-tech helicopter followed the Charger all the way to River Forest, where it crashed and caught fire, according to prosecutors.
Three people ran from the burning car, and the helicopter crew guided officers on the ground until all four were in custody. Wise is one of the people they caught.
Wednesday morning, literally within minutes of the time he was shot precisely six years earlier, Wise was brought before a judge to face new charges.
Back in court
Prosecutor Zachary Peasall told Judge Charles Beach about this week’s car chase. And he told the judge about four guns that police allegedly found inside the stolen Charger: a handgun with an extended magazine and laser sight on the passenger floorboard; a stolen handgun inside a backpack on the back seat, which had been taken with the Charger; a Glock handgun equipped with a switch so it can generate automatic gunfire; and another stolen pistol.
Peasall didn’t tell the judge about what happened in 2017, other than that Wise was on parole.
Wise is only charged with criminal trespass to a vehicle, a misdemeanor, in connection with this week’s incident. Beach ordered him to pay a $3,000 bail deposit to get out of jail.
But he won’t be able to get out of jail anytime soon. Beach also ordered him held without bail on a burglary probation violation warrant from Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
There were no indications during the hearing that IDOC plans to revoke Wise’s parole.