CHICAGO — The son of a Chicago police officer was shot at point-blank range after he tried to tackle an armed robber who confronted him and a friend as they left a Morgan Park bar, officials said.
Chicago police detectives tracked the robber’s getaway car and found the gunman’s pistol hidden behind its taillight, prosecutors said as they filed felony charges in the case.
Shortly before being shot, the 22-year-old victim left a bar near 106th and Western Avenue at about 1:45 a.m. with a 20-year-old friend, and they started walking south.
Upon passing a parking lot at 110th Street, 17-year-old Kevin Ross walked up behind them with a ski mask covering his face, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord Rodgers. She said Ross pointed a gun at the men and announced a robbery while reaching toward the younger man’s pocket.
At that moment, the older victim tried to tackle Ross. They both fell and fought on the ground.
Rodgers said Ross “gained the upper hand,” got up and fired one round directly into the man’s chest at point-blank range. The bullet, she said, passed completely through the victim’s body.
Ross fled the scene in a white Kia driven by another man.
Meanwhile, the second victim, unaware that his friend had been shot, pulled the shooting victim off the ground, and they ran down Western Avenue for a few blocks until the older man collapsed. He was taken to Christ Hospital in fair condition.
Chicago police identified the Kia through a license plate reader database and tracked it back to 19-year-old Christopher Brooks, Rodgers said. Investigators executed a search warrant at Brooks’ home and allegedly found six 9-millimeter shell casings in his bedroom. Those casings matched one found at the shooting scene.
Rodgers said Brooks admitted to driving the getaway car with Ross as his passenger. Ross later admitted to committing the robbery, according to Rodgers.
Investigators also found messages on Brooks’ phone about how to hide a gun, Rodgers said. That led cops to examine the rear taillight of Brooks’ Kia, where they found a firearm. Rodgers said lab tests indicate that the gun ejected the casing found at the shooting scene and the casings found in Brooks’ bedroom. Cops found a ski mask in the Kia’s glove compartment.
Assistant Public Defender Joseph Crawford represented Brooks and Ross during their bail hearings on Monday. He argued that Ross only shot the victim after the victim tackled him, and “perhaps he was acting in self-defense.”
Ross, a senior at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School, is a running back on the school’s football team, and he works part-time at a fast food restaurant, Crawford said.
“We have no reason to believe that Mr. Brooks had any idea what was going to occur there,” Crawford said, according to a transcript of the court proceeding.
“I’ll be frank, Mr. Ross,” Judge Charles Beach countered. “Any time you bring a weapon to an armed robbery, there, in my mind, is the beginning of an intent to use that firearm… The possession of it, the pointing of it at another individual, that is enough for me to believe that you are a danger to the community.”
“And I’ll be frank, Mr. Ross, it’s painful for me to say that. You’re a 17-year-old man. You’re a young man, and to label you in such a way is not something I take any pleasure in. In fact, it hurts me to my soul. The reality is if you’re going to point a weapon at another individual, you’re a danger, and it’s as simple as that.”
Regarding Brooks, Crawford pointed out that there are no allegations that he ever left his car during the robbery. Brooks, an assistant manager at a pizza restaurant, graduated early from high school and is in his second year at Moraine Valley College.
The judge called Brooks “a massive part of this whole process,” even if he didn’t leave the car.
“Not only did you possess the weapon sometime before, but sometime after” the robbery, Beach continued.
“The fact that you were willing to hide a weapon after it’s used and discharged on another human being tells me that there’s a certain disregard for the norms of society in what would be the appropriate thing to do if this was truly an accident.”
In the end, Beach granted a state request to hold Brooks and Ross without bail.
Neither Brooks nor Ross have criminal backgrounds.
They are each charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery, and aggravated battery.