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Felon shot man in West Side alley, said he was ‘lucky’ gun ran out of ammo after trying to open fire again: prosecutors

David N. Ethridge, 38, of Hanover Park, was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in the May 14 shooting in the 3700 block of West Chicago. He was denied bail Sunday.

David N. Ethridge
Chicago police

Bail was denied Sunday for a convicted felon who allegedly shot a 55-year-old man earlier this month on the West Side and told him to consider himself “lucky” when the gun ran out of ammunition.

David N. Ethridge, 38, of Hanover Park, was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in the May 14 shooting in the 3700 block of West Chicago, according to Chicago police and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Late that night, Ethridge initially offered to sell the other man drugs but was turned down, Assistant State’s Attorney Andrea Williams said during his initial court hearing. About a half hour later, Ethridge allegedly followed the man into an alley behind a gas station and opened fire, striking him in the thigh.

The man ran off but Ethridge gave chase and fired at least two more shots in his direction “before the gun began to click,” Williams said. When the man fell to the ground, Ethridge allegedly stood over him and unsuccessfully attempted to fire more shots at him.

“At that time, the defendant told the victim that he was lucky that he ran out of bullets,” Williams said.

After getting away, the wounded man was taken to Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center and his condition was stabilized, authorities said.

Police investigators retrieved surveillance video from the gas station showing Ethridge trailing the man into the alley, according to Williams, who said the victim fingered the alleged gunman in a photo lineup. Williams said the man first met Ethridge when the suspected shooter tried to sell him the drugs, noting the video footage didn’t capture any provocation or argument between the two men.

Ethridge was later arrested Saturday morning near the scene of the shooting, police said. He identified himself from an image pulled from the video footage, Williams said.

Ethridge has a lengthy criminal history and was on parole at the time of the shooting for a 2019 extortion conviction in Iowa, Williams said. He has also been sent to the Illinois Department of Corrections eight times, including a five-year sentence in 2005 for battering a police officer.

Mark Joslyn, Ethridge’s public defender, explained that his client has a history of mental illness. Joslyn described him as a lifelong Cook County resident who works at a warehouse and lives with his fiancée and three kids.

Judge Charles Beach ultimately denied Ethridge bail, remarking on the “randomness” of the attack and the “chilling” attempt to “finish the job.” He set Ethridge’s next court date for June 1.