Man shot July 4th partygoers after he was asked to stop shooting gun in the air as children played nearby: prosecutors

Calvin Gonnigan shot 45-year-old Janina Ford in the face, killing her as she tried to help another victim and attempted to talk to Gonnigan Sunday night.

SHARE Man shot July 4th partygoers after he was asked to stop shooting gun in the air as children played nearby: prosecutors
The Leighton Criminal Courthouse

The Leighton Criminal Courthouse

Sun-Times file photo

A man shot at Fourth of July partygoers in Austin, killing one woman and wounding two others because he was angry that he was asked to stop shooting his gun in the air as children played outside, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.

After hearing the allegations, Judge Susana Ortiz compared Sunday night’s crime to the infamous 30-second 1881 “gunfight at the O.K. Corral” and ordered alleged gunman Calvin Gonnigan held without bail on murder and attempted murder charges.

Gonnigan shot 45-year-old Janina Ford in the face, killing her as she tried to help another victim and attempted to talk to Gonnigan Sunday night in an alley off the first block of North Menard Avenue, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Gonnigan fired at a group of people celebrating Independence Day because someone in that small crowd had asked him to stop firing his gun in the air from a nearby porch as children milled about, Murphy said.

Calvin Gonnigan

Calvin Gonnigan

Chicago police

Gonnigan, 34, initially threatened the partygoers, but went inside a nearby apartment building, Murphy said.

He then came outside and approached the group in the alley. Gonnigan allegedly pointed his gun at one person before aiming at and shooting a 32-year-old man.

When other partygoers sought cover, Gonnigan allegedly fired additional shots, grazing the abdomen of a 50-year-old man.

A 49-year-old man who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon returned fire, striking Gonnigan in both arms and hip, Murphy and Chicago police said. After he was hit, Gonnigan ran back inside the apartment building he went into moments before, Murphy said.

As Ford and others tried to help the 32-year-old victim, Gonnigan allegedly came back outside. That’s when Ford attempted to talk to him and was gunned down, Murphy said.

Gonnigan then allegedly stood over the 32-year-old victim and repeatedly shot him as he lay on the ground. That victim suffered 10 gunshot wounds and remained hospitalized in critical condition at Stroger Hospital Wednesday, Murphy said.

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Gonnigan also shot the 50-year-old victim two more times before returning to the nearby apartment building, Murphy said.

When officers arrived, Gonnigan was identified as the gunman by several witnesses, including the man who shot Gonnigan, Murphy said. That man turned his gun in to police and has cooperated with the investigation.

Gonnigan tested positive for gunshot residue when he was taken into custody at the scene, Murphy said. His mother allowed officers to search her apartment where a box for a Springfield 9-mm handgun and ammunition was found. However, no firearm was recovered, Murphy said.

Gonnigan has previous convictions, including an unlawful use of a weapon by a felon conviction for which he received a 10-year prison sentence, Murphy said. He also has a prior aggravated robbery conviction, Murphy said.

Gonnigan had recently been living with his cousin in west suburban Brookfield and was employed by Frito-Lay as a package handler, where he worked 60 to 80 hours a week, an assistant public defender said.

“I think the situation is one in which there may be another side to the sequence of events that night,” the defense attorney added.

Ortiz noted that Gonnigan walked away from the camera during his live-streamed hearing before it concluded Wednesday.

Gonnigan is expected back in court July 26.

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