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Man who ran from police during unrest last May pleads guilty to federal gun charge

Chicago police said they spotted Brandon Pegues a little after 12:30 a.m. May 31 in the 800 block of South Financial Place, where they arrived “in response to mass crowds and multiple reported ongoing crimes, including criminal damage to property,” records show.

Dirksen Federal Courthouse
Sun-Times file

A man who fled police during last May’s unrest and looting in Chicago pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to illegal possession of a firearm.

Brandon Pegues, 29, admitted during a virtual hearing before U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall to allegations made by police in the days that followed the unrest. He is likely to face a sentence of between 10 and 16 months during his sentencing hearing, set for July 21.

Chicago police said they spotted Pegues a little after 12:30 a.m. May 31 in the 800 block of South Financial Place, where they arrived “in response to mass crowds and multiple reported ongoing crimes, including criminal damage to property,” records show.

Officers said they saw four men running south on South Financial, and some were carrying hammers. When they saw Pegues, they said he looked at them, adjusted his waistband, and fled. Police said they ran after him, and Pegues eventually stumbled and fell.

Police said they saw a gun fall to the ground, and they said they saw Pegues push what turned out to be a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol under a nearby vehicle. Assistant U.S. Attorney Albert Berry also said Thursday that police found a hammer on Pegues.

Pegues had been convicted of residential burglary, a felony, in January 2010, court records show.

Federal authorities say investigations into last summer’s rioting continue. Earlier this month, prosecutors leveled a rarely filed charge against James Massey, of Chicago, accusing him of using a facility of interstate commerce to incite a riot during a second round of unrest in August. They also last month charged three people with setting fire to a CTA van on May 30.

On Wednesday, a federal judge sentenced D Angelo D. Chester, 32, to more than three years in prison after he was caught with a gun after the 9 p.m. curfew Mayor Lori Lightfoot set as a result of the rioting. Chester’s criminal history prompted the judge to find that the risk of Chester committing another crime is significant.