5 weeks after having ankle monitor removed, he was part of the robbery team that left an Uber driver dead: prosecutors

Kameron Freeman and Mohammed Al Hijoj (Chicago Police Department, @CPD1617Scanner)

CHICAGO — Barely a month after a judge removed the ankle monitor Kameron Freeman wore while awaiting trial for possessing a stolen SUV, the 29-year-old participated in the robbery and murder of an Uber driver, prosecutors say. Freeman is also accused of being part of an armed robbery crew that robbed a woman in Bucktown in March.

Freeman is the 37th person charged with murdering or trying to shoot or kill someone in Chicago last year while on felony pretrial release. The crimes involved 53 victims, 19 of whom died.

Police arrested Freeman on May 18, 2023, after he bolted from a stolen Jeep in the 1300 block of North Lockwood. Judge Susana Ortiz put him on electronic monitoring. But Judge Michael Hood removed the ankle bracelet on October 26, court records show.

Five weeks later, on December 3, Uber driver Mohammed Al Hijoj picked up Freeman, 18-year-old Zayin Kelly, and two other people and drove them to the 1700 block of North Lotus, prosecutors said.

A witness seated in another car saw Al Hijoj’s Cadillac Escalade pull over and observed someone climb from the back seat to the front seat of Al Hijoj’s vehicle. According to prosecutors, Al Hijoj raised his hands, and another occupant of the car patted him down from the back seat. As the witness ran into his home to call 911, he heard a gunshot from outside.

The 39-year-old limo driver, shot in the chest, arm, and leg, died. He moved to America from Jordan 15 years ago and was working toward his doctorate while owning a small limousine company.

As the passengers bailed out of Al Hijoj’s SUV, Kelly accidentally shot himself in the right thigh and dropped the murder weapon outside the limo as he ran away, prosecutors said.

Eight days later, while detectives continued to work on the murder case, Freeman pleaded guilty to the pending stolen vehicle charge. Judge Hood sentenced him to probation and ordered him to get a GED.

But prosecutors say Freeman undertook another activity while on probation, too: armed robbery.

He was one of the people who robbed a 26-year-old woman at gunpoint in the 2100 block of West North Avenue around 6:05 a.m. on March 13, police said. Detectives linked that robbery to a crew that committed at least ten holdups across the area. CPD also released these surveillance images of the robbers, with the man in the middle resembling Freeman.

Chicago police released these surveillance images of three men they want to identify in connection with a string of armed robberies. (Chicago Police Department)

Judge Shauna Boliker detained Freeman on charges of murder during the commission of a forcible felony and armed robbery.

Kelly was also charged with Al Hijoj’s murder in February. He was on juvenile probation for robbery at the time of the crime and served time in the juvenile justice center for carjacking in 2021, officials said.

Another man accused of being part of the Bucktown robbery crew was charged last month.

The “not horrible” series

This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others on pretrial release for a felony allegation. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “We haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.

On September 18, 2023, the state of Illinois eliminated cash bail entirely. Our “not horrible” continues.

The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people awaiting trial for felony allegations is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data.

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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