No bail for man accused of killing 2, hurting 7 in Near North Side shooting: ‘There’s no other way to describe it than a massacre’

Bail was also denied Sunday for another man who allegedly hid the gun used in the attack, which was equipped with an extended magazine and modified to fire automatically.

SHARE No bail for man accused of killing 2, hurting 7 in Near North Side shooting: ‘There’s no other way to describe it than a massacre’
Chicago police work the scene where two people were killed and seven others were wounded near East Chicago Avenue and North State Street in the Near North Side neighborhood, Thursday, May 19, 2022.

Chicago police work the scene where two people were killed and seven others were wounded near East Chicago Avenue and North State Street in the Near North Side neighborhood, Thursday, May 19, 2022.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times file photo

A Cook County judge denied bail Sunday for a 21-year-old man accused of carrying out “a massacre” three days earlier that left two people dead and seven others wounded in a flurry of gunfire just blocks from the Magnificent Mile.

Thursday’s mass shooting came amid a spate of violence downtown that has prompted heightened concerns over public safety in the heart of the city and left Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on the defensive going into the historically violent summer months.

Jaylun Sanders, of South Shore, faces counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in connection to the attack, authorities said. Kameron Abram, 20, of Altgeld Gardens, was also hit with the same gun charge for allegedly hiding the murder weapon, which prosecutors said was equipped with an extended magazine and modified to fire automatically.

Jaylun Sanders (left) and Kameron Abram were both charged in connection to a mass shooting on Thursday in the first block of East Chicago Avenue.

Jaylun Sanders (left) and Kameron Abram were both charged in connection to a mass shooting on Thursday in the first block of East Chicago Avenue.

Chicago police

Sanders was among a group of people that got into a fight at 9:54 p.m. near the notorious trouble-spot around the McDonald’s restaurant at 10 E. Chicago Ave., Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during the bail hearing.

After a single gunshot rang out and a Chicago police sergeant responded, the two groups involved ran off and officers soon found a gun hidden beneath a mailbox about a block away, Murphy said. But just over 20 minutes later, Murphy said, Sanders was caught on video “gearing up for this shooting” by concealing his face with his hooded sweatshirt and taking a Glock 19 handgun from another person near the scene of the initial incident.

Then at 10:41 p.m., as Sanders and his crew walked toward the Red Line entrance with the other group a few steps behind, he turned and unloaded 21 shots in rapid succession, Murphy said.

“He fires it in bursts and uses his other hand to support his arm so that it doesn’t go up when he’s firing shots,” Murphy said. “And you can see him actually aiming at different individuals as he’s firing those shots.”

CTA surveillance cameras then captured Abram taking the gun and switching sweatshirts with Sanders before they crossed the tracks from one platform to another, Murphy said. At that point, Sanders’ girlfriend was electrocuted when she stepped onto the third rail.

Sanders at one point told officers that the shooter ran off in an opposite direction, but he was later identified when he changed back into the sweatshirt he was wearing during the attack, Murphy said. After running onto the tracks and down a subway tunnel, he was arrested.

Abram was taken into custody when officers stopped him and other members of the group on the platform, Murphy said. A canine unit also found the Glock inside the Red Line tunnel, where Abram allegedly hid it.

Sanders first denied that he was the shooter but later admitted that his cousin gave him the gun after learning detectives had reviewed surveillance video, Murphy said. Sanders allegedly said the gun was bought in Indiana, and the “switch” that made it automatic was purchased for just $20 or $25.

Murphy said Sanders initially told investigators that the other group shot first, then insisted he “had to do it” because he saw them “reaching” for a weapon. Murphy noted, however, that the surveillance footage showed the victims weren’t holding guns or even reaching into their pockets at the time of the shooting.

Samantha Petitti, an assistant public defender, said both Sanders and Abram live with loved ones and are currently unemployed. She urged Judge Susana Ortiz to set bail for both men, arguing that Abram only faces a gun charge and that Sanders initially denied carrying out the shooting and wasn’t found with a weapon.

But Ortiz didn’t mince words about the circumstances of the shooting, saying, “There’s no other way to describe it than a massacre in the middle of Chicago and State.”

She ordered both men held without bail, although she acknowledged it’s unusual to take that measure in a case that only involves a gun charge.

Sanders was also denied bail in a prior gun case from November 2020, when he was found with another Glock 19. A warrant was issued in that case in November and his bail was revoked when he failed to show up to court, court records show.

Sanders is expected in court again Monday in that case. Abram, who has no prior criminal background, has another hearing Friday.

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