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Articles Posted in Weapons Charges

Prosecutors have dropped felony charges against a suspect who was implicated in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl and an injury to her 6-year-old sister. Prosecutors refused to pursue felony charges against one of the suspects citing the lack of evidence and the failure of one witness to cooperate. The witness is believed to be a relative of the girls and was in a dispute with one of the suspects. Without this witness’s testimony, the murder trial against at least one suspect will not move forward. Prosecutors also cited a lack of a confession or video evidence as a reason to drop the felony charges.

The outraged police officers threatened to ignore the prosecutors and try the case themselves. But the prosecutor said they would dismiss the case if the police took that route. To avoid a public battle between police and prosecutors, police backed down from their threats. The suspect is now being held on a minor parole violation. However, the felony charges against him related to the shooting are gone. 

The State Attorney’s Office issued a statement that said that prosecutors and police are now in accord with the handling of the case. Prosecutors reiterated that there was simply not enough evidence to bring the case to trial. The Chicago Police Department did not issue a comment when asked.

An Indiana man is in deep water after a gun he purchased in Indiana was used to shoot two Chicago police officers recently — one of them fatally. Police say that the semi-auto handgun was purchased in Indiana as part of a straw operation.

Essentially, felons skirt federal background check requirements by setting up straw buyers to purchase weapons on their behalf for a fee. The gun, however, remains registered in the name of the straw buyer. When that gun shows up on the streets after being used to injure one cop and kill another, you can bet that the police will come after the individual who purchased the gun illegally, placing it into the stream of commerce, with the result that one cop was fatally killed.

According to police, the defendant purchased the weapon at a federal firearms dealership in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, it was used in violent crimes against police.

Chicago P.D. is being pressured by activists to stop using the ShotSpotter technology that allows them to respond to reports of gunfire. Activists claim that police are using ShotSpotter reports to fabricate evidence against shooting victims. They also claim that the microphone sensors are placed disproportionately in minority neighborhoods. 

Prosecutors in Chicago have been forced to withdraw evidence related to ShotSpotter after discoveries have been made that the technology could be easily tampered with. Police departments use the technology to find gunshots and increase response times. Adam Toledo was among the incidents in which ShotSpotter technology was employed. Police say there was a report of gunfire, an assailant was firing into vehicles. That is when they caught up with Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old with a gun. Toledo tried to ditch the gun, but when he pulled it out, the officer shot him.

What is wrong with ShotSpotter?

Chicago PD announced a new team that will target straw purchasers for guns. Essentially, felons or others who would otherwise be prevented from applying for a gun permit pay someone else to perform the transaction for them. The straw buyer then gives the weapon to the felon who now has a gun. According to Chicago police, this is how a large number of weapons sold outside of Chicago end up on Chicago streets. 

The federal-local team will consist of Chicago P.D. and the ATF. Investigators are focusing on gun traffickers, straw purchasers, and unscrupulous gun store owners who do less than the legal requirement to ensure their buyers are legitimate.

Illegal Gun Sales at Legal Gun Stores

The officer is okay. He was shot in the vest. The woman who fired the bullets, however, was critically injured in the exchange of gunfire. She was charged with attempted murder, weapons crimes, and aggravated battery. On Monday, she accepted a plea for aggravated battery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Good behavior credits plus time served mean that she could be out in as little as four years. Had the defendant been convicted of attempted murder, she would have faced a minimum sentence of 26 years. 

What Happened?

Two plainclothes officers witnessed the defendant during a suspected drug deal. One officer called the defendant over for questioning. She immediately ran. The officer gave chase. When he was about to catch up with her, she turned around and shot him. The bullet penetrated a flashlight on his vest and then also penetrated the vest leaving a scar on his body near his heart. The officers returned fire but critically wounded the defendant who survived her injuries to stand trial. She was expected to plead innocent and then defend herself at trial, but a last-minute plea deal subverted the effort.

Three soldiers out of Fort Campbell have been charged with purchasing and selling weapons, some of which were used in violent homicides in Chicago, according to NPR. The three men are enlisted U.S. Army members from Fort Campbell which is home to the 101st Airborne Division. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the ATF teamed up to make the arrests. 

The trio has been charged with a slew of crimes related to the illegal trafficking of weapons. These will be charged as federal crimes. These include transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident, making false statements concerning the acquisition of a firearm, wire fraud, money laundering, and other charges related to the scheme. 

Prosecutors have identified the ring leader as 24-year-old Brandon Miller. Prosecutors have asked that Miller be denied bond as he allegedly poses a significant flight risk.

Strange headline, but nonetheless, true. A Gary Councilman (Ronald G. Brewer), who had his Lexus stolen, tracked the thieves back to Chicago where he caught up with them. He was accused of discharging his weapon at the teens, confining them against their will, and taking one of the teens back to Gary with him. The charges against him have all been dismissed after the former councilman completed a pretrial diversion program. It is unclear what that pretrial diversion was, but it very easily could have been an anger management program.

At the time of the incident, Brewer was the president of the Gary city council.

Where is the Crime?

Adam Toledo is among the latest victims of police violence, but bodycam footage shows the officer making a split-second decision as Toledo turned around. Toledo had deposited the gun behind a fence and was no longer holding it when the officer discharged his weapon. He had put his hands up, and in the heat of the moment, the officer shot him. The officer involved in the shooting will not face any charges related to Toledo’s death. The same cannot be said for the 21-year-old, Ruben Roman, who allegedly gave Toledo the gun.

What Police Think Happened

Roman and Toledo were together. Roman was discharging his weapon. The sound startled nearby residents, who called the police. Roman knew that the police were coming, so he gave the weapon to a 13-year-old who would not face charges. Roman had already faced weapons charges and was on gun probation at the time of the incident. So that is how the 13-year-old ended up with the weapon. The 13-year-old is running around with the weapon, police order him to drop it and put his hands up, and even though he complies, they shoot. Toledo dies.

File this one under Crime in the 21st Century. A teen live-streamed himself smoking pot with a gun in his lap after eluding police during a traffic stop. Antonio Butler has been charged with five counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, and more. Prosecutors also hinted that the crime spree was still under investigation, and that the teen may face additional charges. Since Butler is 18 years of age, he will be tried as an adult. 

The Spree

The Audi was stolen on March 25. It was then reported in an armed robbery, but Butler was able to get away. Later that day, the Audi was reported in two gas station robberies, a carjacking, and another armed robbery. Police eventually caught up with the vehicle and found Butler asleep inside. They tapped on the window to wake him up and then broke through the window to get him out. Butler hit the gas and drove the Audi into police vehicles, before successfully fleeing the scene. He then posted a video to Instagram showing him smoking marijuana with a gun in his lap while bragging about losing the police.

A Chicago police officer who instructed other Chicago police officers in the use of force was recently arrested in relation to an off-duty police shooting. The officer shot the man in the hand. 39-year-old Kevin Bunge is charged with aggravated battery and the unlawful use of a weapon. Both are felonies. Bunge was held on a $10,000 bond.

Police say that Bunge was on his way home from the police academy where he taught when a vehicle pulled up behind him. Bunge was parked, listening to a book on tape when the vehicle approached. The two men were going to meet a friend. The one man was providing directions to the other man using Google Maps. The driver did not believe that the directions were accurate, so they pulled their vehicle over. 

At this point, Bunge exited his vehicle with his gun and his badge. Although neither man was armed, Bunge fired into the vehicle. Both men inside the vehicle have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Bunge. Meanwhile, Bunge is facing criminal charges related to the incident.

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