3 men had 8 guns at 31st Street Beach, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — A routine Chicago police matter—asking a group of people to stop drinking on a beach parking lot—turned into much more on Monday evening at 31st Street Beach. The cops wound up arresting three men on the lot for possessing eight guns, including a machine gun, a rifle, and a mini-AK47, prosecutors said. None of the men have been arrested before.

Three more men were arrested separately, each allegedly carrying one gun apiece, at the beach’s checkpoint that same night—a total of 11 guns recovered at one of the city’s most popular lakefront spots.

“I can’t imagine what would possess an individual to think it was a good idea to bring that type of armament to a beach,” Judge Charles Beach said after the allegations against the first three men were laid out before him on Tuesday afternoon. “For the life of me, I can’t even imagine. But nevertheless, we stand here today dealing with this very issue.”

Chicago cops approached the group around 8:18 p.m. because alcohol is not allowed on park property, Assistant State’s Attorney Victor Aberdeen told the judge.

When Omarion Robinson, 20, opened his car door to retrieve his ID, an officer saw a loaded rifle wedged between the driver’s seat and center console, according to Aberdeen.

He said officers also found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun with a laser sight in the passenger door panel; a loaded handgun with a laser sight, extended magazine, and auto-fire switch on the driver’s floorboard; and another loaded handgun with a laser sight on the front passenger floorboard.

Auto-fire switches, or “Glock switches,” allow handguns to fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull, like a machine gun.

Left to right: Malik Berrien, Darrell Johnson, Omarion Robinson | Chicago Police Department

Meanwhile, another officer allegedly saw Malik Berrien, 20, drop an ammunition magazine on the front passenger floorboard of an SUV parked behind Robinson’s vehicle.

Officers patted Berrien down and found a loaded handgun in his groin area, Aberdeen said.

While the cops patted Berrien down, 21-year-old Darrell Johnson walked up and told them that the SUV belonged to him.

Officers detained Johnson and found more guns, according to Aberdeen. He said there were two bags on the back passenger seats. One contained a Mini Draco AK47 pistol, and the other held a loaded handgun. Yet another handgun was lying next to one of the bags, Aberdeen said.

Robinson’s attorney said he has a concealed carry license in Indiana. He’s a lab tech and lives with his girlfriend, and they are expecting their first child. He is charged with possessing a machine gun, unlawful use of a rifle, and two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

“I have a feeling Indiana does not allow you to carry fully automatic handguns,” Judge Beach countered. “In fact, the federal government doesn’t allow you to carry fully automatic handguns.”

According to Aberdeen, Johnson is licensed to own firearms in Illinois but does not have a concealed carry license. He lives in Riverdale and works full-time. He is charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Berrion, who lives in Indiana, is also charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

“One gun at a park or a Beach is one gun too many. It’s as simple as that,” the judge told the men. “There’s kids. There’s other people trying to enjoy what is one of the greatest assets of our city.”

He ordered Johnson to post a $4,000 bail deposit to go home. Robinson must post a $6,000 deposit, and Berrion will need to put up $2,000.

Beach gave Robinson and Berrion permission to return to Indiana after they post bail.

Checkpoint arrests

Three more men would appear in bond court later Tuesday, each accused of having a firearm at or near the 31st Street Beach security checkpoint.

Travell Reese, 20, was on bail for a pending felony charge of aggravated discharge of a firearm when Chicago police saw him riding a dirtbike past the checkpoint while wearing a ski mask, Aberdeen said. He explained that Reese was operating the motorbike, which didn’t have a registration, on a sidewalk, so the police stopped him.

The officers said they found a loaded handgun in his bookbag during a pat-down.

His defense lawyer argued that CPD’s arrest report said the arresting officers were made aware of someone who was trying to avoid the bag check. He’s charged with two felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon.

Judge Beach held him without bail for violating bond in the pending case. He’ll need to post a $5,000 bail deposit on the new charges.

At around 7 p.m., Jamari Evans Clarity, 18, was arrested at the beach security checkpoint after officers allegedly found a ghost gun in his bag. He has never been arrested before. Beach said he needed to post a $500 deposit and observe a curfew from midnight to 7 p.m. when he gets out.

Later on Monday, cops approached a group of people at the beach that they suspected were violating the city curfew. One of them, 18-year-old Demetrius Hemphill, appeared to have a large bulge in his hoodie pocket, and he ran when officers approached, Aberdeen said.

While running, Hemphill collided with an officer, who broke her ankle. That allowed officers to catch him, and they found a pistol with a high-capacity magazine in his waistband, according to Aberdeen.

Hemphill’s defense attorney questioned the legality of the stop because, while officers supposedly saw a bulge in Hemphill’s hoodie pocket, they didn’t find anything there. The gun was allegedly in his waist. Like most of the others, Hemphill has never been arrested before.

He’s charged with two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and misdemeanor reckless conduct. Beach ordered him to pay a $500 deposit and handed him a curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Original reporting you’ll see nowhere else, paid for by our readers. Click here to support our work.

About CWBChicago 6875 Articles
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