Person being questioned in shooting of Dakotah Earley that shocked Lincoln Park residents

“The individual who’s in custody right now has five carjacking arrests on his record in the last two years. You could argue he never should have been on the street in the first place,” Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) told a packed house at a community safety meeting Monday evening.

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Dakotah Earley was shot and seriously wounded during a robbery on May 6 in Lincoln Park.

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A person of interest is being questioned by police in connection to the shooting of Dakotah Earley that shocked residents of Lincoln Park earlier this month, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said Monday night.

“A person is in custody right now. A person of interest. I can say, unofficially, there’s substantial evidence to connect him to this crime and he is currently being questioned and I believe charges at some point will be pending,” Hopkins told more than 200 people gathered at a community safety meeting at the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

A Chicago police spokesman on Monday evening confirmed police are questioning a “person of interest.”

The person being questioned is a 19-year-old man, Hopkins said.

Police have determined those responsible for the string of robberies have been using stolen vehicles to get around, Hopkins said.

“The individual who’s in custody right now has five carjacking arrests on his record in the last two years. You could argue he never should have been on the street in the first place. It’s inexcusable and unacceptable that a pattern of behavior like that is just allowed to continue unabated,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins credited “substantial” evidence, both physical and video, gathered by neighbors and handed over to police, for the development.

“It now appears, and this is unofficial because the investigation is ongoing, but it does appear that the same crew is responsible for somewhere between 20 to 30 similar armed robberies in our neighborhood in the span of about a week. Again, we can’t live like this folks,” he said.

Dakotah Earley, 23, was walking on a sidewalk at Webster and Wayne avenues on May 6 around 3 a.m. when he was confronted by a gunman who stepped out from behind a building, pointed a gun and demanded his cellphone.

Surveillance video shared with the website CWB captured him struggling with the gunman who took his phone and demanded the passcode. The gunman then opened fire at close range and shot him three times in the head and back, police said. He is hospitalized at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

The gunman’s accomplice could be seen getting out of a white car during the struggle, according to the video.

Earley was shot in the jaw and will eventually need a voice box to communicate, Hopkins said, noting that he was pleased Earley was out a coma and currently using his hands to communicate.

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