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Third man charged in killing of Chicago cop John Rivera

Officer John P. Rivera. | Chicago Police Department

As a third man was charged in off-duty Chicago Police Officer John Rivera’s murder on Wednesday, Cook County prosecutors offered new details in the case against the three suspects.

Jaquan Washington, 22, appeared in court for his bond hearing a day after he turned himself in for the fatal March 23rd shooting.

During the hearing, in which Washington was ordered held without bond, prosecutors announced for the first time that they were able to identify the alleged shooter, Menelik Jackson, partly through phone calls to the Cook County Jail, in addition to witness statements and surveillance video in the area.

Another man, 32-year-old Jovan Battle was also charged with killing 23-year-old Rivera, who was off-duty when he was gunned down in River North.

In addition to first-degree murder, Washington also faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder for his alleged role in the shooting, which prosecutors said stemmed from an altercation Washington and Jackson, 24, were involved earlier in the morning with a different group.

Jaquan Washington
Jaquan Washington | Chicago police
Chicago police

Prosecutors said that Washington and Jackson had been attending a show at the House of Blues where they met three Wisconsin women who were staying at the Hotel Felix, located in the same block as the shooting.

After the show, Jackson drove Washington and the women to his home, purchased liquor and returned to the women’s hotel room. At one point, Jackson told the women he had a BB gun under passenger seat of his white pick up truck and Washington told the woman the gun was kept there “for their use,” prosecutors said.

About 2:25 a.m. that morning, Jackson, Washington and two of the women walked to a McDonald’s a few blocks south on Clark Street. There, they encountered a group of men who they got into a fight with, which resulted in Washington being knocked to the ground and punched, prosecutors said.

Jovan Battle (right) and Menelik Jackson (left), both are charged in the fatal shooting of off-duty Chicago Police Officer John Rivera.
Menelik Jackson (left) and Jovan Battle. | Chicago Police
Chicago police

Jackson was seen running back to his truck during the fight, and was “holding his hand at his waist” and had “the outline of a gun under his shirt” when he returned to the McDonald’s, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Chicago police came to the scene and the other group boarded a party bus and Jackson and Washington returned to the Hotel Felix, prosecutors said. Back in the women’s hotel room, Jackson allegedly took out the gun and placed it briefly on the table.

Jackson and Washington prepared to leave the hotel room, but apparently couldn’t find the clip for the gun, prosecutors said. After leaving, Washington returned to the room a short time later looking for the gun’s clip again.

Washington described for the group how he was attacked, with Jackson “getting more upset” and seeming to “feed off” what Washington was saying, Murphy said. Jackson “wanted to shoot them,” Murphy added.

About an hour after the initial altercation, Rivera, his girlfriend, a second off-duty officer and a 23-year-old man prosecutors said was serving in a military reserves force, left Stout Barrell House & Pizzeria, in the 700 block of North Clark, and walked back to Rivera’s car.

By this time, Jackson and Washington had met with Battle while looking for the group they had fought with earlier.

Battle — who reportedly has a history of mental illness and has lived in homeless shelters — allegedly told detectives that he wanted to help Jackson and Washington because “they were jumped earlier,” and were in the same gang, prosecutors previously said.

Battle pointed out Rivera’s car, incorrectly identifying Rivera and his friends as members of the group Jackson and Washington had fought with, prosecutors said.

Battle armed himself with a liquor bottle and approached the car with Jackson, who was armed with the gun, prosecutors said.

Video surveillance recorded Jackson and Battle walking directly to Rivera’s car, prosecutors said. Battle was also seen pointing to the car with the bottle multiple times and motioning to the other side of the street where Washington was standing. The video further shows Washington running across the street toward the rear passenger side of Rivera’s car and Jackson pulling out a handgun and firing into the driver’s side window.

Authorities have said Rivera leaned over his girlfriend to protect her from the shot and was fatally struck multiple times.

Prosecutors said eight .40-caliber shell casings were found at the scene.

The military reserve member was also struck and ended up with a bullet lodged in his neck. He is expected to survive.

After the shooting, Battle “calmly” walked away to the corner and turned down Huron Street, where he briefly met with Washington again and the two exchanged words, prosecutors said.

Jackson ran to his pickup, prosecutors said. When he was taken into custody hours after the shooting, a .40-caliber handgun was recovered.

Prosecutors said Jackson admitted he fired into Rivera’s car and identified Washington as part of his confession.

Two of the women they were with earlier in the night also identified Washington from a surveillance photo.

Prosecutors said Washington was on bond on armed habitual criminal and unlawful use of a weapon charges at the time of the shooting.

Brittany Kimble, Washington’s attorney, said he has a daughter and is not in a gang. She asked Judge Mary Marubio to set a reasonable bond, arguing that prosecutors had not shown Washington “was in cahoots” with Jackson. She also said Washington and Jackson had never met Battle before that night.

“In regard to the ‘cahoots,'” Murphy replied, “I think the proffer was clear.”

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Contributing: Luke Wilusz