Prosecutors Charge First Two Suspects in Basketball Park Shooting with Serious Felony Crimes
Last week a shooting in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood left Cook County prosecutors looking for suspects to charge with the horrendous felony crimes that left 13 people injured, including a 3-year-old boy. This week, prosecutors were able to charge their first two suspects involved in the mass shooting. While prosecutors are likely relieved that they have at least two of the individuals who were able to cause extreme danger and injury to a large group of Chicago residents, the case is still ongoing, with a nation wondering who could perpetrate such violent crimes.
According to the Chicago Tribune, last Thursday at about 10:15pm, at least one individual opened fire with a military grade rifle at the Cornell Square Park basketball court. The bullets fired from the weapon sprayed the park, injuring 13 people. Luckily, no one was killed in the shooting. Bullet casings found after the shooting suggest that the gun was an AK-47 military style weapon, which is rare in the types of shootings that generally occur as a part of Chicago’s gun violence problem.
On Monday of this week, prosecutors charged 21-year-old Bryan Champ and 20-year-old Kewane Gatewood, both Chicago residents, with three counts each of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. While it does not appear that neither Mr. Champ or Mr. Gatewood was the shooter, they allegedly helped to transport the weapon that was used by the shooter at the scene of the crime. Mr. Champ is a convicted felon and a known street gang member. Both men were scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
Under Illinois law, 720 ILCS 5/8-4, attempt crimes are those that are committed with the intent to commit the specific offense, and that the offender does any act that constitutes a substantial step towards committing that specific offense. The sentence for an attempted crime can be the same, but not more, than the sentence for the offense that was attempted. Thus, in this case, if the suspects are ultimately convicted of attempted murder, they could theoretically be sentenced within the guidelines of an actual murder charge. There are exceptions for sentencing, for example in the case of an attempted first-degree murder charge.
Aggravated Battery with a Firearm
Under 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05, a person commits aggravated battery with a firearm when he or she commits a battery and knowingly discharges a firearm, other than a machine gun or firearm equipped with silencer, and causes any injury to another person. Various other conduct is prohibited under the aggravated battery statute pertaining to the discharge of a firearm during a battery, all of which could be severely prosecuted. A conviction of aggravated battery with a firearm that results in injury to a person is a Class X felony, punishable by a lengthy prison term, as well as other penalties and consequences. Under the statute, depending on the type of conduct committed during the battery with a firearm, prison sentences can vary.
If you have been charged with violating Illinois criminal laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Goldman & Associates today for a confidential consultation.