Man who shot at Chicago cops during Loop traffic stop is found guilty on all counts, including 4x attempted murder

Edgardo Perez and a frame from the shooting video (Chicago Police Department, Provided)

CHICAGO — After a week of sometimes horrifying testimony, a jury could begin deliberations as early as Tuesday in the murder trial of Emonte Morgan, the man accused of murdering Chicago Police Officer Ella French and badly injuring one of her partners during a traffic stop in August 2021.

Even though the officers’ body cameras captured the traffic stop and shootings, Morgan went to trial. That seems like a risky move, given the seemingly overwhelming evidence. But, all he needs is one juror to see things his way.

Just five months after French was killed, another man was charged with shooting at Chicago police officers during a traffic stop in the Loop. As in Morgan’s case, the Loop traffic stop was caught on bodycams and other surveillance video. And, as in Morgan’s case, cops shot the man who allegedly opened fire on them.

But Edgardo Perez, 26, rejected plea deals and put his fate in the hands of Judge Aleksandra Gillespie two weeks ago. It didn’t go well for him. Gillespie found him guilty on all counts—ten felonies, including four counts of attempted murder. He’s now facing the possibility of decades in prison.

Officials said Perez was the front-seat passenger in a freshly hijacked Honda Accord when Chicago police officers stopped the vehicle near Columbus and Lower Wacker Drive around 8:48 p.m. on January 26, 2022.

An officer’s bodycam was rolling as he approached the Accord’s passenger side on foot and ordered the vehicle’s occupants to show their hands, prosecutors have said. The footage allegedly showed Perez firing a handgun toward the officer at close range.

A nearby surveillance camera captured the traffic stop in its entirety. Watch:

A closer look at the camera footage shows smoke emanating from the passenger window toward the officer. Prosecutors said in 2022 that Perez fired a gun through the closed passenger-side window, sending shards of glass into the cop’s eye. While the bullet did not strike the officer, he was treated at Rush Hospital for eye injuries. Another officer was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for a rapid heartbeat.

Two other officers immediately opened fire on Perez, who was struck in the chest, arm, and leg. A bullet also grazed his forehead, leaving a long, red divot that was visible in his mugshot.

According to court records, Perez initially requested a jury trial for his case but ultimately decided against it.

Prosecutors played the officers’ bodycam footage. Perez even took the stand. Judge Gillespie admitted his prescription medication records into evidence. An officer who observed his testimony said Perez claimed he was “too drunk to know what he was doing.”

Less than a year after the incident, two other men who were in the car with Perez pleaded guilty to felonies. The driver, Noel Centeno, pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen motor vehicle, and the man in the car’s back seat, Jesse Sanchez, pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, according to court records.

Gillespie sentenced Centeno to four years plus two years for an unrelated gun case that he was on bail for at the time of the shooting. Sanchez received a one-year sentence.

Gillespie found Perez guilty of four counts of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and one count each of aggravated battery of an on-duty peace officer with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm toward a peace officer, and aggravated discharge of a firearm toward an occupied vehicle.

His sentencing is pending. Post-trial motions are expected to be reviewed during the next court date, March 20.

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

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