ShotSpotter sparked at least 4 arrests, 5 gun seizures during first weekend of new contract: Chicago police reports

From left: Daniel Baragas, Matthew Bogolin, Nicholas Castiblanco, and Fernando Mones (Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s administration struck an 11th-hour deal last Friday to extend the city’s contract with SoundThinking, the maker of ShotSpotter gunfire detection systems, beyond its midnight expiration.

By sunrise on Monday, ShotSpotter alerts had already led police to recover at least three handguns, a shotgun, and an AR-15 rifle from men who allegedly fired weapons on the streets of Chicago.

Still, Johnson insists he will yank ShotSpotter from the city’s streets when the contract extension expires this fall.

Critics of the ShotSpotter system insist that it is inaccurate and ineffective. Some say it is racist. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recently claimed that ShotSpotter does not contribute significantly to firearms-related prosecutions in the city. However, prosecutors in her office approved felony charges in at least four ShotSpotter-related cases last weekend alone.

We’ll explore Foxx’s conclusions and the anti-ShotSpotter community’s claims in a separate story this weekend.

But today, we’re launching a new series of reports to give our readers a better idea of what ShotSpotter does in real life.

Our team reads hundreds of Chicago police reports every week. We can say with certainty that ShotSpotter alerts routinely result in the arrests of armed men—and they’re almost always men—after shots are fired in the city.

Every week or so, we will share the details of ShotSpotter cases we come across during our work. This won’t be an exhaustive list of every ShotSpotter case across town. But if we come across a ShotSpotter case during our usual work, we’ll set it aside to share in a future installment.

ShotSpotter sparks arrests

Many ShotSpotter critics point to the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo as an example of what they consider “wrong” with the technology. But the fact of the matter is that ShotSpotter worked perfectly on the night Toledo ran from cops with a gun in his hand. It pinpointed gunfire at a specific address: 2358 South Sawyer. After reviewing the alert, Chicago cops sent patrol units to the scene.

In a stunning coincidence, the first ShotSpotter-related arrest under the city’s new contract came after Chicago police responded to a ShotSpotter alert barely a block south of where the shots were fired on the night Toledo died.

It happened at 12:13 a.m. last Saturday, a mere 13 minutes after ShotSpotter would have been turned off, had Johnson not reached a deal with the company.

A cop monitoring ShotSpotters in the local police district confirmed three shots at a specific address in the 2500 block of South Spaulding and then five more a couple of houses away.

Officers went to the scene and quickly encountered 19-year-old Daniel Bargas of Berwyn, who refused to stop and then ran, according to his CPD arrest report. The cops said they saw him pull out a rifle as he fled, but he ditched it as he hopped a fence.

The cops recovered the gun, a DPMS A-15 Panther, and a green-tipped armor-piercing bullet. And they found Bargas hiding under a table in someone’s back yard.

If you listen, you can hear how it all went down in this five-minute recording of the local CPD radio channel. SpotNews, a tireless chronicler of Chicago police radio activity, captured the transmissions. Listen:

In a detention order that will keep Baragas in jail for a while, Judge Ankur Srivastava found there was “no good reason why someone should have and brandish such a weapon on the streets of Chicago.”

Less than two hours after Bargas’ arrest, police received another ShotSpotter hit in the 1400 block of West 39th Street. When they arrived, they allegedly saw Matthew Bogolin, 33, standing near the address given by ShotSpotter with his hands in his pockets.

He removed his hands from his pockets at their request, and a spent shell casing fell from his jacket to the ground, police said.

Bogolin allegedly told the officers that he fired a gun “toward the sky” to scare a man who was sitting in a parked car on his property, according to his CPD arrest report.

He told the cops where they could find the gun: on the battery box of a nearby car. They confiscated the weapon, recovered another shell casing nearby, and took him into custody.

Like Bargas, he is charged with endangering others by recklessly discharging a firearm. According to court records, Judge William Fahy released him from custody with instructions to surrender his firearm owner’s ID card.

Then, around 2:20 a.m. Sunday, police responded to a ShotSpotter hit of two rounds fired in an alley behind the White Castle, 4750 West 63rd Street. As they traveled to the scene, a 911 caller reported that a man in a blue Honda had a gun in the area.

The cops found a man matching that description sitting in a blue Honda in the White Castle drive-thru line. When they peered into his car, they allegedly saw a pistol in his hand.

That man, a licensed concealed carry gun owner named Fernando Mones, told police that the driver of a white van struck the back of his car and drove away, officers said. The van fled, and Mones got out of his car and opened fire on it, according to his arrest report.

A White Castle drive-thru employee told police she saw him pull the gun and fire at a vehicle, the report said. Officers found two shell casings in the drive-thru lane.

Judge Charles Beach released Mones and ordered him to surrender his gun licenses.

Another ShotSpotter arrest occurred around 3:16 a.m. Monday, February 19, in the 4100 block of South Morgan.

Officers were responding to a “person with a gun” call at that location when they were informed that ShotSpotter had just detected six rounds fired nearby.

A truck driver flagged them down to report that another trucker, 36-year-old Nicholas Castiblanco of Spring, Texas, had fired shots at him during a parking dispute, according to CPD’s report.

Prosecutors said Castiblanco shot at the man when the victim followed his truck to get his license plate number.

Cops pulled Castiblanco over and allegedly recovered a pistol and a shotgun.

Prosecutors charged him with endangering others by recklessly discharging a firearm. But they refused to charge him with illegally possessing firearms because he is licensed to have them in Texas, according to CPD’s arrest report.

Judge Susana Ortiz detained Castiblanco, noting that police found cartridge casings at the scene and bullet holes in the victim’s truck.

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About Tim Hecke 252 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com