Charges filed in shooting that left man injured in Lincoln Park last year

Antonio Ortiz (Multiplottr, Chicago Police Department)

CHICAGO — Charges have been filed in a shooting that left a man critically injured in Lincoln Park in September.

Antonio Ortiz, 42, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, and possessing a controlled substance. After hearing from prosecutors and Ortiz’s attorney, Judge David Kelly rejected the state’s detention petition and sent Ortiz home on an ankle monitor.

Officers responding to calls of shots fired in the 500 block of West Wrightwood around 10:59 p.m. on September 4 found a 33-year-old man “laying on the street yelling in pain,” according to an initial CPD media statement. He suffered two gunshot wounds to his left leg and one to his right leg.

Witnesses reported hearing an argument or yelling between two men before the shots were fired just east of Clark Street, but police offered no motive for the shooting at the time.

Prosecutors now say the shooting involved Ortiz and a man who had just begun dating the mother of Ortiz’s child. The men had never met before.

The alleged victim and the woman drove to Ortiz’s home in the 2500 block of North Clark to pick up the child on the night of the shooting, according to officials. When they arrived, the man confronted Ortiz about the language Ortiz used while arguing with the woman on the phone that night, according to prosecutors. At one point, the man tried to hit Ortiz but missed.

The woman separated the men, and the couple returned to their car without getting the child, prosecutor Joseph Sorrentino said, according to a transcript of the detention hearing. They drove around the block, arguing with each other until the alleged victim got out of the vehicle and started walking, Sorrentino claimed. Around the same time, Ortiz arrived at the scene in his car. He pulled out a gun and asked the woman where the man went, Sorrentino said.

Ortiz found the man hiding in a nearby entryway. Displaying a gun, Ortiz allegedly said something to the effect of “Now what’s up?” as the alleged victim tried to grab the firearm, Sorrentino alleged, according to a transcript of Ortiz’s detention hearing.

During the altercation, Ortiz fired four shots, fracturing the man’s left thigh bone, sending a bullet through his other leg, and grazing both legs, Sorrentino stated.

“This is the end for you,” Ortiz allegedly said while standing over the fallen man.

Ortiz’s 10-year-old son told investigators that Ortiz came home and told him that he shot a friend, prosecutors said. The boy allegedly revealed that Ortiz threw the firearm down a garbage chute with the clothes he was wearing, according to Sorrentino.

Private defense attorney Samuel Jackson III offered a different version of events during the hearing.

Jackson claimed Ortiz took his son back to their apartment after the alleged victim struck him and only returned to the street because the mother of the child called to say the victim had struck her as they argued about the situation.

“We won’t dispute that Mr. Ortiz ended up with a gun,” Jackson told Judge Kelly, suggesting that Ortiz didn’t introduce the gun to the situation. 

Once Ortiz returned to the street, the victim “comes out of nowhere” and started attacking Ortiz again, Jackson stated. A fight ensued, leaving the victim shot. Jackson argued that if Ortiz wanted to kill the man, he would have shot him in the head while he was lying on the ground.

Jackson explained away Ortiz’s decision to throw the gun down the trash chute, too.

“What should a convicted felon do with a gun that he’s just obtained? He should dispose of it. And that’s what he does,” said Jackson. “He takes the bullets out of the gun, so, hypothetically, if somebody was to later find the gun, it wouldn’t be a danger to them. This is what you want a person to do.”

Sorrentino confirmed that the alleged victim was initially uncooperative with investigators, but he changed his mind in March after Ortiz “began to harass” the woman and her family. He also countered Jackson’s claims, saying the woman “saw the defendant with a gun in his hand, asking where the victim was” before the shooting.

“So he is out here with a gun unlawfully looking for this victim,” Sorrentino told Kelly. “If this was a self-defense, it’s the state’s position that the defendant would stay on the scene, or speak with officers, or call officers. But he didn’t do that, your honor. He left.”

Kelly questioned Ortiz’s explanation, saying he or the woman could have called police instead of confronting the alleged victim directly. Ultimately, the judge concluded that, while Ortiz presented an element of danger, electronic monitoring could mitigate those concerns.

This story is made possible by contributions to the Cook County Courtroom Transparency Fund.

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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