Chicago man shot woman on expressway just days after buying a gun and ammo, Illinois State Police say

Damarco Watkins-Romaine | Illinois State Police; Multiplottr

CHICAGO — A Chicago man shot a woman five times on a South Side Expressway less than three weeks after he bought a handgun and ammunition matching the kind found at the shooting scene, the Illinois State Police allege in court documents.

The woman was heading north on I-57 near 99th Street when someone shot her repeatedly from another car on the expressway around 10:18 p.m. on November 23, 2022.

Within hours, ISP investigators identified the gunman’s car by using license plate readers and Chicago Police Department surveillance cameras. They located the vehicle, a white Lincoln MKX, in the 7800 block of South Phillips the next day.

Damarco Watkins-Romaine, a 32-year-old who lives a few yards from where the car was found, was arrested on January 31 and released after being swabbed for DNA and having his fingerprints taken, a Chicago police arrest report said.

While lab tests were outstanding, investigators executed search warrants and learned that Watkins-Romaine’s phone data showed he was at the shooting scene at the time of the shooting, and he was also at the same location as the victim shortly before the shooting, the CPD report said.

Live ammunition found inside the Lincoln matched the casings found at the shooting scene, police said. And investigators found sales records showing Watkins-Romaine purchased the same brand of ammunition and a handgun on November 6, 2022, according to the CPD report.

Watkins-Romaine surrendered to Chicago police on August 31 after tests allegedly showed his fingerprints and DNA were inside the Lincoln.

Investigators did not provide a motive for the shooting in the reports filed with the court.

Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered him to pay a $35,000 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring. He is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, and aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle.

According to Cook County court records, Watkins-Romaine has faced 17 misdemeanor charges since 2012, but prosecutors have dropped the majority of them, including an unlawful use of a weapon case in 2022.

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