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CTA employee charged with fatal shooting in Fuller Park

Police investigate a shooting about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018 in the 5200 block of South Wells Street. | Justin Jackson/ Sun-Times

A CTA employee is accused of fatally shooting a man early Wednesday in the Fuller Park neighborhood after he tracked his wife’s cellphone and found the man in a car with her.

Darnell Hurt, 29, of the East Side neighborhood, was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bail Friday during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Hurt attempted to contact his wife several times, but had no success and decided to track his wife’s cellphone to locate her, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Crone.

Darnell Hurt | Chicago police
Darnell Hurt | Chicago police

About 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Hurt drove to the 5200 block of South Wells, and found his wife and 32-year-old Lee Labriel driving in the street, Crone said. Hurt tried to get them to pull over by signaling to them, but eventually cut them off with his vehicle so they could not drive away.

Hurt’s wife got out of the car and began arguing with Hurt, Crone said. Hurt ordered Labriel to get out of the car and Labriel, who was not armed, moved from the passenger side seat to the driver’s seat and tried to get out the driver’s side door.

That’s when Hurt, armed with a .45-caliber Springfield handgun, fired a shot into the back of Labriel’s head, Crone said.

Labriel was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said. He lived in the Englewood neighborhood.

Responding officers wearing body cameras approached Hurt, and he admitted to shooting Labriel, according to Crone and Chicago police records. The admission was recorded by an officer’s body camera and Hurt’s wife also witnessed the shooting, Crone said.

The handgun was found on top of Hurt’s vehicle with a .45-caliber round in the chamber, Crone said. The magazine had been removed and was sitting next to the gun. A .45-caliber shell casing was also recovered nearby.

The shell casing had the same markings as the live round that was found in chamber of the gun, Crone said.

Police previously said Hurt had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Hurt is employed by the CTA, his defense attorney Jonathan Bedi said in court.

Bedi did not know in what capacity Hurt was employed by the CTA, and a spokesman for the transit agency could not immediately provide additional information Friday.

“He’s completely innocent of these charges and he is looking forward to proving it in court,” Bedi of his client said Friday evening. “He’s a good kid; he’s never been arrested before.”

Hurt’s next court date was set for Aug. 29.