Thursday, August 23, 2018

How seriously does Chicago treat gun crime? Here's a look at some recent cases...

Cazares (left) and Ortiz. | Chicago Police Dept
It’s time to take another look at how Cook County prosecutors and judges  handle Chicago’s gun cases:

First up, two cases that were previously profiled in our reporting have wrapped up in court:

Fabian Cazares, 20, accused of having a loaded gun in his car in the 3700 block of North Recreation Drive last November, has pleaded guilty. He received two-years of “first-time offender probation” from Judge Earl Hoffenberg.

Brandon Ortiz, 24, who was accused of firing a gun in an alley near Clark and Diversey last November, breaking two windows in a nearby condominium building, has also pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon in a vehicle. He received 18 months probation from Judge Catherine Haberkorn.

New Cases

John Wiegand was arrested near the Chicago Greyhound Bus terminal. | CPD; Google
Two witnesses flagged down Chicago police to report a man with a gun near the Greyhound bus terminal, 630 West Harrison, on the evening of July 29th.

Officers approached the suspect, 59-year-old John Wiegand of downstate Cahokia, and ordered him to put his hands in the air. An unholstered, loaded handgun was found in the small of Wiegand’s back, police said.

That’s when a 47-year-old man approached the police with a story. The man said he offered to give Wiegand two cigarettes in exchange for a hit from the joint that Wiegand was smoking. After Weigand received the cigarettes, he allegedly refused to provide the man with a hit of the joint and then pulled out his gun, saying “you better keep on walking.”

Judge David Navarro released Wiegand on a recognizance bond. Wiegand failed to show up in court on August 6th and was arrested on a bench warrant last Tuesday.

Fredrick Garcia (L) and Colin Minogue were arrested at the North Park Inn, police said. | CPD; Google
Chicago police say they received a tip about two men and a woman bagging narcotics inside a motel room in the 6200 block of North Lincoln on August 1st. When they arrived at the motel, the manager approached them and handed over a bullet. One of his housekeepers had found it in a room, and he wanted the responsible guests removed from his property, he said.

Police said they entered the room and discovered 30-year-old Colin Minogue sitting on a bed. There was a scale, prescription pill bottles, baggies, two rounds of ammunition, and a handgun lying around, according to the officers’ report.

Minogue, who lives in Wilmette, was charged with possession of ammunition without a valid Firearm Owner ID (FOID) card; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of a firearm without a valid FOID.

Judge Stephanie Miller released him on a recognizance bond.

Police stopped a vehicle outside of the motel that they believed was connected to the room’s occupants. They found another handgun behind the back seat where 38-year-old Fredrick Garcia of Evanston was sitting, according to prosecutors. Police said in Garcia’s arrest report that he is a “self-admitted” Latin Maniac Disciple.

Garcia was charged with possessing a firearm without a valid FOID. Miller also released him on a recognizance bond.

Mikal Coleman was stopped in Englewood, police said. | CPD
On August 4th, cops pulled 40-year-old Mikal Coleman over in the Englewood neighborhood after they saw him drive a Divvy bike across two lanes of traffic, “disrupting the flow…in two directions,” according to a police report.

It turns out that the bike had been stolen about a week earlier, according to Divvy. As police took Coleman into custody for possessing the stolen bike, they found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in his book bag, prosecutors said.

“I live on the South Side of Chicago,” Coleman allegedly told police. “I need it for protection.”

Coleman has a state FOID card, but he does not have a concealed carry permit, according to police.

Officers asked the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to file felony unlawful use of a weapon charges against Coleman, but two separate prosecutors refused to do so. Both assistant state’s attorneys told police that a book bag is considered a “carrying case” for firearms. As a result, Coleman would only be charged with misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon and misdemeanor theft of lost or mislaid property.

He was released on a recognizance bond.

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