#14: Man on bail for machine gun possession opened fire on pedestrians, shooting a 16-year-old, officials say

CHICAGO — A Cook County prosecutor found herself on the wrong side of Chicago street violence last week as she drove home from the Leighton Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California. The driver in front of her shooting in her direction, apparently intending to hit a group of people passing by.

The assistant state’s attorney was not injured. A 16-year-old boy in the group was not so lucky.

Those details were revealed during a bail hearing for Omar Funches, the 25-year-old man who stands accused of being the gunman. Funches, who was on bail for a pending charge of unlawful possession of a machine gun, is the 14th person accused of shooting, killing, or trying to shoot or kill someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. The cases involve at least 20 victims, seven of whom died.

Funches

The prosecutor was heading home around 6 p.m. last Thursday when she rolled up behind a white Ford Escape at a red light in the 600 block of South California. A group of six or eight people exited a nearby alley and passed between the Ford and the prosecutor’s car, another assistant state’s attorney said during Funches’ bail hearing.

The driver of the Escape opened his door and leaned out, firing a rifle toward the group, with the prosecutor in the line of fire. Officials said that she managed to pull away from the scene and call 911, but a bullet struck the back end of her car as she did.

A 16-year-old boy who was in the group suffered a gunshot wound to his left arm, according to Chicago police. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.

A city surveillance camera and a private security camera that was even closer to the scene both recorded the shooting, according to Rhianna Biernat, the prosecutor who detailed the state’s charges against Funches.

Investigators found 19 shell casings at California and Harrison, all ejected by the same gun, she said. By searching license plate reader hits from near the shooting, they also identified a white Ford Escape that the gunman may have used, Biernat said.

That license plate hit on a reader in Elmhurst the next day. The Escape’s driver sped away from suburban cops who tried to pull him over. Then he crashed head-on into another car, but no injuries were reported.

Biernat said the driver bailed out of the wrecked Escape, ran across the outbound Eisenhower Expressway, and traversed the Blue Line tracks. Once he reached the inbound Eisenhower, a passing motorcyclist detained him for the cops. 

She alleged that the driver was Funches, and he was wearing much of the same clothing that the gunman had worn the day before.

Back at the Ford Escape, cops found an AM-15 rifle wedged between the driver’s seat and the center console, according to Biernat. She said preliminary testing determined that it was consistent with the weapon that fired all 19 rounds at the shooting scene.

During the bail hearing, Funches’ defense attorney said that he supports three children by working full-time as a forklift operator. He participates in a non-violence program and volunteers at a food pantry, according to the lawyer.

His criminal background includes felony convictions for aggravated fleeing and eluding and aggravated battery of a peace officer, both in 2019.

Now he’s charged with two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Judge Charles Beach granted the state’s request to hold him without bail. Beach also held Funches without bail for violating bond in his pending machine gun case.

The “not horrible” series

This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “We haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.

The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data. 

#1: Chicago man stabbed, beat roommate to death while awaiting trial for burglary, prosecutors say (February 18, 2023)

#2: Attempted murder charge for woman who randomly stabbed victim while on bail for randomly stabbing other people (March 5, 2023)

#3: She tried to kill a woman while on bail for trying to kill yet another woman, prosecutors say (April 7, 2023)

#4: Man charged with killing woman while on felony bail after Chicago cops gather a mountain of video evidence, prosecutors say (April 7, 2023)

#5: Convicted murderer killed 2, wounded 1 while on electronic monitoring for gun possession, prosecutors say (April 18, 2023)

#6: Man killed 1, tried to kill another while on felony bail, prosecutors say (April 29, 2023)

#7: Man shot good Samaritan who went to check on him inside wrecked, smoking car, prosecutors say (May 5, 2023)

#8: 4 people, all with extensive juvenile criminal backgrounds, killed off-duty Chicago cop during armed robbery: prosecutors (May 10, 2023)

#9: Man accidentally shot front seat passenger while handling gun in car’s back seat, prosecutors say (May 23, 2023)

#10: Chicago man shot his brother because he was ‘tired of’ the sibling, prosecutors say (June 3, 2023)

#11: Chicago man killed robbery victim while on electronic monitoring for another robbery case: prosecutors (June 5, 2023)

#12: Man shot at, tried to kill Chicago cops while on parole and felony bail, prosecutors say (June 8, 2023)

#13: Seven-time felon shot a long-time friend, ‘firing round after round,’ while on felony bail, prosecutors say (July 11, 2023)

2022 “not horrible” cases

2021 “not horrible” cases

2020 “not horrible” cases

2019 “not horrible” cases

About CWBChicago 6548 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