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Man dies after shooting, chase ends in front of Cook County courthouse

Police investigate after a car with a shooting victim inside pulled up in front of the Cook County Courthouse at 26th and California Friday morning. | Andy Grimm/Sun-Times

A frantic woman parked her bullet-pocked SUV in front of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse on Friday, screaming for help for her wounded boyfriend, who later died, witnesses said.

The 26-year-old woman told police someone in another vehicle opened fire on her car about 11:15 a.m. a few blocks south of the Little Village courthouse, near West 31st Street and South Rockwell, and then chased her as she raced away.

“She said she didn’t go to the hospital because she wanted to go somewhere where they would stop shooting at her,” said Robin Ross, who was walking out of the courthouse following a hearing, and overheard the woman talking to police.

The woman’s passenger, 28-year-old Kenneth Williams, had appeared at the courthouse earlier in the morning to plead not guilty to a felony charge of driving on a revoked license, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office and court records. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The front and rear passenger windows had been shattered by gunfire, and three bullet holes marked a tight cluster on the rear passenger door of the battered black SUV.

The woman bolted from the car, screaming for help, and ran inside the courthouse entrance, Ross said. The man, who had been in the back seat of the SUV, was loaded onto an ambulance and did not appear to be moving, Ross said.

Williams died at Mount Sinai Hospital at 2:10 p.m., authorities said.

A black SUV is checked by police outside the Cook County Courthouse at 26th and California. The driver stopped there and dropped off a man who had been shot. | Andy Grimm/Sun-Times

No one was in custody for the shooting as of early Saturday.

Police roped off South California Avenue in front of the courthouse with crime scene tape, and courthouse workers paused to gape at the SUV as they came and went from lunch breaks.

As she sprinted up the courthouse stairs, crying for help, the SUV driver had passed volunteers from Courtside Prayer, a group that greets people entering and exiting the courthouse. Margot Porche, a Courtside Prayer volunteer making her first trip to the 26th and California courthouse, said she was shocked by what she had seen.

“She called for help, and they came running,” said Porche. “I guess she came to the right place.”

On March 6, a man was fatally shot near the courthouse just minutes after being released from jail because Cook County prosecutors failed to give him a timely trial. Weeks later, another man was critically wounded in another shooting across the street.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire