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Elderly felon convicted of two 1970s murders charged in another killing

Why Bernard Barry shot 42-year-old Tyran Evans in East Garfield Park Monday was not immediately clear, Cook County prosecutors said. But an assistant public defender pointed out in court Wednesday that “this may be a self-defense situation.”

A man was charged in connection with a fatal hit-and-run Aug. 14, 2021, in Wrigleyville.
Bernard Barry was arrested and charged with murder May 17, 2021.
Adobe Stock Photo

A 75-year-old felon previously convicted of two 1970s murders has been charged with killing a man outside an assisted living facility in East Garfield Park earlier this week.

Why Bernard Barry shot 42-year-old Tyran Evans on Monday was not immediately clear, Cook County prosecutors said.

But an assistant public defender pointed out in court Wednesday that “this may be a self-defense situation.”

Barry was sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car with another person outside the facility where he used to live in the 300 block of North California Avenue when Evans approached on a bicycle around 3 p.m. and told Barry to “get out,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

As Evans swung his fist at Barry, Barry fired his handgun, striking Evans once in the arm, Murphy said. The bullet pierced through Evans’ arm and into the right side of his body.

When Evans fell to the ground, Barry got out of the car, moved Evans’ bike to the rear of the car and began to drive away, Murphy said. Barry then halted briefly, allowing his passenger to exit the vehicle. He then allegedly drove off.

An employee at the assisted living facility heard the shots and called 911, prosecutors said. The worker saw Evans on the ground and Barry in the car, recognizing him as a former resident, Murphy said.

Evans later died at Stroger Hospital.

Bernard Barry
Bernard Barry
Chicago police

Barry allegedly got rid of the murder weapon and was taken into custody by a SWAT team at his home shortly after. Three spent cartridge casings were recovered from Barry’s car, Murphy said.

Barry told detectives conflicting accounts of what happened, but indicated at one point that Evans was trying to carjack him, Murphy said.

Judge Arthur Wesley Willis said he took the possible self-defense argument into account, but noted that Barry never called 911 and fled from the scene.

“Had he done so, this court would be thinking completely differently,” Willis said before ordering Barry held without bail.

Barry was sentenced to eight years in prison after he was convicted of murder in 1970, Murphy said.

According to news reports at the time, a man with the same name as Barry was convicted in the death of Chicago Police Officer Erwin Jackson. Jackson, 33, was accidentally shot by his partner during a scuffle with Barry at a West Side bar while the officers tried to disarm him in 1969, reports said.

Barry was convicted in another murder in 1975 and sentenced to 90 years in prison, Murphy said.

News reports said a man that shared Barry’s name and age was initially charged with two murders in the mid 70s and that Chicago police said he was a suspect in two additional murders.

Those articles also noted that Barry was sentenced to a year in prison for shooting the helmet off the head of a Chicago police officer in 1968 during “racial disturbances.”

A spokeswoman for state’s attorney’s office did not have additional information about Barry’s decades-old murder convictions and could not confirm the information in the news reports.

Murphy said Barry was discharged from parole last August for a 2005 conviction for aggravated discharge of a firearm.

Barry, a construction worker, suffers from emphysema and had part of his lung removed as a result, his assistant public defender said. The senior citizen has a son but is estranged from him, the defense attorney added.

Evans was scheduled to stand trial in July on attempted murder and aggravated battery charges.

Chicago police would not release details for the 2019 case. But Evans’ attorney Dawn Projansky told the Chicago Sun-Times that an intoxicated person had attacked Evans while he was in a car with his significant other.

“I felt we were going to win that case,” Projansky said. “He was defending himself and others.”

Projansky didn’t believe Evans’ murder was related to his pending case.

“Not even remotely,” she said.

Barry is expected back in court June 9.