2nd man charged in July shooting, drug robbery in Bridgeport

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Fidel Maldonado | Chicago police

A second man was charged Saturday with shooting a 26-year-old man in his eye during an alleged drug robbery last summer in the South Side Bridgeport neighborhood.

Fidel Maldonado, 25, of Brighton Park, faces felony counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and armed robbery, according to Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police records. Associate Judge Sophia Atcherson ordered Maldonado held without bail during his initial court hearing Sunday.

His alleged accomplice, 31-year-old Joseph Heotis, was arrested on a warrant on Sept. 18 and hit with the same list of charges then, police and court records show. Heotis was on parole at the time for a 2015 residential burglary, and he is now serving out the six-year sentence for the underlying conviction at the state prison in Mount Sterling, according to court records and the Illinois Department of Corrections.

On the afternoon of July 27, Maldonado and Heotis drove to the alley behind the victim’s home in the 3300 block of South Morgan after Maldonado arranged to buy marijuana from him, according to authorities.

But when the victim walked into the alley, Heotis allegedly hopped out of the driver’s side of the vehicle and demanded the marijuana while brandishing a gun. Hoping to “thwart the robbery,” the victim lifted his shirt to reveal that he was also armed with a gun, prosecutors said.

Before the man could grab his weapon, Maldonado allegedly pulled out his own gun and opened fire. Then, he and Heotis grabbed the bag of weed he was holding and drove off, prosecutors said

At the time, police reported the man was struck in his eye and rushed to Stroger Hospital in serious condition. Prosecutors noted that he ultimately lost the eye as a result of the shooting.

Investigators looking into Maldonado’s cellphone records allege that his phone number was used to arrange the sale, according to prosecutors, who said those records also placed him at the scene of the shooting. Additionally, prosecutors said a private surveillance camera caught Maldonado and Heotis near the scene but didn’t capture the attack.

On Friday, nearly nine months after the shooting, Maldonado was arrested. He was “seemingly unconscious” when officers found him sitting in the front passenger seat of a parked vehicle in the 4900 block of South Fort Dearborn, authorities said.

After realizing the vehicle had been reported stolen and spotting a bag of seven Xanax pills in the passenger side door, Maldonado and another person were taken into custody, prosecutors said.

Following his arrest — which resulted in additional charges of possession of a controlled substance and criminal trespass to a vehicle — Maldonado allegedly admitted to contacting the victim to buy marijuana last summer, prosecutors said. He also claimed he was at the scene but denied having any knowledge of the shooting.

Maldonado’s next court appearance was set for Friday, while Heotis is due in court again on May 7.

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