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Man whose shooting by police led to looting allegedly was armed with gun at park

Social media posts show Latrell Allen “flashing gang signs” and holding a variety of weapons, including a handgun that looks “exactly” like the one recovered, prosecutors said.

The 5700 block of South Racine Avenue.
The 5700 block of South Racine Avenue.
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The man who fired at Chicago police before he was shot and injured by the officers in Englewood Sunday — touching off a night of theft and property destruction downtown — was armed with a weapon at a park where there were children, Cook County prosecutors said.

Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy Tuesday praised officers for arriving so quickly after a 911 caller reported Latrell Allen was fighting and refusing to leave the scene. If they had not responded sooner, “We could be talking about another dead child shot in our city,” he said.

Allen’s family denied he had a gun, and the officers weren’t wearing body cameras, but Murphy said the initial police pursuit of the 20-year-old was recored by police POD cameras.

“He was willing to shoot multiple times at armed law enforcement as they were chasing him; he certainly poses a danger and wouldn’t think twice about shooting up a park or anybody else for that matter,” the prosecutor said.

Assistant Public Defender Scott Finger questioned why the officers were not wearing body cameras, stressing such footage would have been valuable in backing up their account of the shooting.

“In 2020, [Chicago police] can’t get cameras on these officers?” Finger said. “I think there’s an expectation that every officer have a camera these days. The department is under a consent decree after the [U.S. Department of Justice] found a pattern of excessive force and civil rights violations. And they’re out there without cameras?”

Police also did not test Allen’s hands for gunshot residue, Finger said, telling Judge Susana Ortiz that she could draw her own “inferences” as to why.

However, Ortiz said she found the allegations against Allen particularly dangerous.

Allen, who was not in court Tuesday because he was recovering at the University of Chicago Medical Center from gunshot wounds to his cheek and abdomen, was ordered held on $1 million bail for attempted first-degree murder of a police officer and unlawful use of a weapon.

After Allen was wounded, coordinated looting took place downtown and in the Near North Side overnight. “Tempers flared, fueled by misinformation” about an “unarmed juvenile” being shot by police, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Supt. David Brown said.

Prosecutors said four officers, part of a recently created community policing unit, were in an unmarked car but in full uniform when they arrived at Moran Park near 57th Street and Racine Avenue Sunday afternoon responding to a call of a person with a gun.

The police SUV’s emergency lights were activated when the officers pulled up, causing Allen to run, and three of the officers gave chase on foot, followed by the fourth officer, Murphy said.

Allen pulled out a gun before running into the east alley in the 5600 block of Aberdeen Street, where he turned and fired at two of the pursuing officers, Murphy said.

The officers could see the bullets hit the ground between them and returned fire, Murphy said.

Allen fell, but then got up and continued running into a backyard. He ended up in a nearby home, and a relative called 911 to report he had been shot.

Officers followed a blood trail into the home and down the basement, where they called out to Allen, prosecutors said. He eventually came up the stairs and was taken into custody.

A 9mm handgun and eight shell casings were found in the alley near where police allege Allen fired the shots. Additional 9mm shell casings from the officers’ guns were also recovered but had a distinctly different appearance, prosecutors said.

Illinois State Police had not finished testing of the recovered gun for DNA nor completed ballistics examinations Tuesday.

Social media posts show Allen “flashing gang signs” and holding a variety of weapons, including a handgun that looks “exactly” like the one recovered in the alley, Murphy said.

Allen, who pleaded guilty to a felony burglary case last year, was also ordered held without bail Tuesday for violating his probation in that case.

Allen also faces a pending misdemeanor reckless conduct and child endangerment charges, prosecutors said.

Allen was taken into custody on March 26 after he was allegedly seen holding a young child and running through backyards in an attempt to evade officers who were responding to a report of a person with gun. The caller who made the report said Allen had threatened to shoot his 1-year-old baby on Facebook unless he was given money, Murphy said.