Our Pledge To You

News

Man charged with murder in University Village shooting

Robert Howard had called police to complain about his next door neighbor’s party and the revelers drinking and getting high in the hallway.

Officers came to the University Village apartment that night on Jan. 26 but didn’t see anybody, according to a police report.

They told 62-year-old Howard to call them back if the raucous party-goers came back and went back to their squad car to look for them.

Five minutes later the officers were alerted about shots being fired at the building in the 1000 block of West Maxwell.

When they went back, they found Howard, a veteran of the armed forces, dead faced down on the ground.

On Friday, the alleged shooter, Kevin Mason was ordered held without bond for Howard’s murder.

Mason, 22, was a guest at the party held by Howard’s neighbor, who had an ongoing dispute with Howard, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney April Gonzales said.

Howard was killed after police arrived to break up the party on the third floor of the complex.

Some of the party-goers, including Mason, had left the gathering, and Howard ended up fighting with his neighbor in the hallway, Gonzales said.

The neighbor punched Howard in the face and the two began scuffling, Gonzales said.

Meanwhile, Mason and two others were buzzed back into the building, Gonzales said.

When Howard fell to the ground, the neighbor opened the stairwell and let Mason and the other two into the hallway, Gonzales said.

Mason then allegedly started hitting Howard’s head with a butt of a gun before shooting him in the abdomen.

After Howard, fell to the ground, Mason fired twice, striking Howard in the back and head, Gonzales said.

Video surveillance cameras at the building capture Mason leaving, Gonzales said.

Mason allegedly told someone minutes later that he shot Howard in the stomach and “had to finish him off.”

Three people also saw Mason beat Howard and two people saw him pull the trigger, Gonzales said.

Police were told that a handgun was found in the laundry room in a nearby building with the apartment complex, Gonzales said.

There, they recovered a 9mm semiautomatic handgun loaded with two live rounds.

Preliminary tests show that the cartridge casings from the shooting match the recovered weapon, Gonzales said.

Mason, of the 1300 block of Blue Island, was arrested earlier this week.

Three days after Howard’s death, authorities had charged Charneise Silas, 45, with one felony count of aggravated battery connected to the case.

She was ordered held on $250,000 bond.