CHICAGO — A pot deal went bad on a Red Line train over the weekend, ending with one of the parties being shot during a struggle for control of a firearm, officials say. And, in a telling sign of what life is like on the city’s train system these days, both witnesses who saw it happen are also pot dealers on the Red Line.
It all started routinely enough. Around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nahki Hines, 21, agreed to buy some marijuana from 27-year-old Ronnie Price as they rode the train near Cermak, according to prosecutors.
Hines received a few bags of pot, but he didn’t pay right away, and Price demanded his product back, Assistant State’s Attorney Danielle Levin said during the pair’s bond hearings on Monday.
But there was some confusion in court about what happened next.
Levin said Price saw a gun in Hines’ waistband, and they struggled to control the weapon, with the gun never leaving Hines’ waistband. Assistant Public Defender Courtney Smallwood, representing Price, countered that a Chicago police report said Price and two witnesses claimed that Hines pulled the gun and pointed it at Price.
Either way, the men fought for control of the weapon. It discharged, striking Hines in the right thigh. Levin said both witnesses know Price because they are also pot dealers on the Red Line.
Price took the gun and fled to another train car, Levin said. Cops found the handgun inside Price’s backpack as they were arresting him.
Prosecutors charged Hines with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Price is charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon. Neither man is charged with firing the gun, and Price is not charged with shooting Hines.
“This is certainly a unique set of facts and circumstances that occurred here,” Judge Susana Ortiz concluded. She ordered each man to pay a $1,000 bail deposit to go home on electronic monitoring.
Representing Hines, Assistant Public Defender Malory Hudson said he is enrolled in CNA school and works full-time as a CNA intern.