ShotSpotter led Chicago cops to a migrant with a stolen gun and 43 rounds of ammo: report

CHICAGO — A Chicago alderman’s push to keep the ShotSpotter gunfire detection system active in wards that want the technology may come to a head on Wednesday. That’s when Ald. David Moore (17th) is expected to force his colleagues to vote on an order accusing Mayor Brandon Johnson of going against the wishes of the council by canceling ShotSpotter’s contract.

“The order calls for more data collection and more transparency throughout the life of the current ShotSpotter contract,” which expires this fall, according to a press release from the company. Moore, former Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, and several other aldermen are expected to hold a press conference today.

Here are some recent arrests Chicago police made after responding to ShotSpotter alerts:

• Venezuelan migrant Jan Torres-Roman, 21, is charged with unlawful use of a weapon after police responded to a ShotSpotter in the 5100 block of South Indiana around 6 p.m. on May 5. When officers arrived, a gas station security guard told them he heard gunfire and saw Torres-Roman, who was still standing nearby, running from the area of the gunshots while holding a gun, according to a CPD report.

Jan Franco Torres-Roman and a ShotSpotter device in Springfield, IL (Chicago Police Department, Salisburymistake)

The report said security footage showed three men walk away from a parked car, followed moments later by Torres-Roman running back to the vehicle while gripping his waist. The report stated that he paced back and forth, placed the gun—reportedly stolen from Albuquerque—under the car’s passenger seat, and dumped a box containing 43 rounds of ammunition under a garbage bag in the gas station lot.

Judge David Kelly released Torres-Roman from custody. According to court records, Torres-Roman did not appear for a scheduled hearing on May 13.

• Officers who responded to a ShotSpotter in the 10100 block of South Indiana reviewed Ring doorbell footage that allegedly showed Bryan Cox, 42, firing a rifle from a porch on May 2. A witness also told police that Cox had punched a 77-year-old man living with dementia in the back of the head.

Judge Ankur Srivastava detained Cox, noting that he has 20 previous convictions and is now accused of firing 19 rounds and striking a senior citizen.

• CPD officers recovered a loaded machine gun after responding to a ShotSpotter alert in the 7000 block of South Honore on May 6, according to a police report. When they arrived, they saw a car run a stop sign and pulled it over. Corey Felton, 26, was in the passenger seat of the vehicle, which turned out to be an Uber, the report said.

Prosecutors said police found a “loaded short barrel rifle with an aftermarket plastic modification inside of the rifle that converts the weapon from semi-automatic to fully automatic” sticking out of a laundry bag that was sitting next to Felton.

Felton allegedly told police that he had been doing laundry at his grandmother’s house, but he denied that the laundry bag in the car was his. Authorities have charged him with possessing a machine gun.

• Police arrested 28-year-old Jaime Reyes Jr. after responding to a ShotSpotter alert for two rounds fired in the 6300 block of South Lorel on April 26. Around the same time, Reyes’ mother called 911 to say he was standing in the middle of the street with a gun, according to a police report.

The report stated that a witness flagged down the officers and directed them to Reyes, who was bending over next to a white Jeep. CPD surveillance footage showed he was ditching a gun under the SUV, according to the report. Police recovered the firearm. Police have charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and reckless discharge of a firearm.

Judge Srivastava detained him as a safety threat, noting that Reyes had a previous case in which he tried to force a woman into a car at gunpoint.

According to court records, the initial charges against Reyes included hate crimes, attempted kidnapping, and aggravated unlawful restraint. But he struck a plea deal and pleaded guilty only to misdemeanor aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Judge Ursula Walowski sentenced him to two years of probation in 2022. He completed the probation successfully in January.

• A ShotSpotter detected gunfire in the 4000 block of West Gladys around 9 p.m. on April 28. When the police arrived, they saw a group of people standing around and asked if they had heard any gunshots. They all pointed at 23-year-old Dantron Polk, a CPD report said.

Polk “became wide-eyed in a nervous manner and began to walk away… while holding his side,” the report continued. Police said he ran away, fell down, then dropped a gun as he tried to get back up. He’s charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Previous reporting

Critics of the ShotSpotter system insist that it is inaccurate and ineffective. Some say it is racist. Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, claimed that ShotSpotter does not contribute significantly to firearms-related prosecutions in the city.

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. This series includes cases we happened to come across during our work. It is not an exhaustive list of every ShotSpotter case filed.

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