A federal inmate who a witness said was known as the “Angel of Death” on the streets of the city’s North Side was denied bail Friday during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, where he faced counts of murder and attempted murder in connection with a pair of 2015 murders.
The witness told instigators that 25-year-old Harvey Pitts earned the contemptible moniker because “every time he goes out someone dies,” Cook County prosecutors said in court.
The allegations against Pitts, who has a history of drug and weapons convictions, led an exasperated Judge John F. Lyke Jr. on Friday to wonder aloud when the city would grow tired enough of the violence to do something about it.
“Hopefully, our city will get tired of this,” Lyke said before denying Pitts bail. “When you get tired of it, you do something about it. Apparently, we’re not tired yet.”
Pitts was brought back to Chicago from Kentucky on Wednesday to face the charges; he had been locked up on a 2017 gun charge, serving a seven-year sentence at Big Sandy Penitentiary, a federal prison in Inez, Kentucky.
On Friday, Pitts was accused of participating in the murder of 23-year-old Albert Turnage on Feb. 25, 2015, in Rogers Park and being the gunman in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jontaye Walker eight months later in West Rogers Park.
Pitts, who prosecutors said was a member of the Loc City/Get Rich faction of the Gangster Disciples street gang, was looking to target rival gang members in both shootings.
Pitts and a still-uncharged gunman later read a DNAInfo article about Turnage’s murder and learned he wasn’t a gang member but a hardworking father who grew up in the foster system.
Not that it mattered to Pitts, prosecutors said.
“Who cares?” a witness heard Pitts say after reading the report, prosecutors said.
In that shooting, which also wounded a 30-year-old man, Pitts was accused of being the driver.
Pitts and the uncharged gunman had gone to a friend’s apartment to get a gun, prosecutors said. When they returned, Pitts was smiling as they told their friend they had shot two people. The friend told investigators he later sold the gun to a drug dealer on the South Side named “Mikey.”
Later the same day, officers spotted the minivan Pitts allegedly drove in the shooting and found his girlfriend behind the wheel. She told the officers she had loaned the vehicle to Pitts the night before, prosecutors said.
In April 2015, Pitts was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting an officer, according to court records. He received a 90-day sentence for those charges and was released the same day he was sentenced due to time already served while awaiting trial.
Pitts is accused of pulling the trigger in the shooting of Walker, who Pitts allegedly spotted Nov. 26, 2015, in the 2200 block of West Thome Avenue as Walker was helping install a new license plate on his girlfriend’s car.
Pitts came up to Walker and began firing; Walker pushed his girlfriend out of the way and ran, prosecutors said. Walker was struck once, fell, got back up and fell again on the lawn of a nearby apartment building. There, Pitts stood over Walker, aimed and “fired numerous times.”
Walker was pronounced dead. He suffered 12 gunshot wounds, prosecutors said. The shooting was allegedly retribution for the earlier murder of an uncharged co-offender’s brother.
Walker’s girlfriend recognized Pitts from high school and gave police his name and later identified him in a photo array, prosecutors said.
The next year, he was taken into custody on a weapons charge following a police chase in Skokie, court records show. That case eventually led to the 2017 federal charge for transporting a gun across state lines and Pitts’ seven-year sentence.
Federal records show a 2022 anticipated release date for Pitts. His next court date on the murder charges is set for Nov. 25.