A man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in a 2015 River West shooting that involved a now-deceased Cook County correctional officer.
Mario “Booty” Orta — who newly released surveillance video shows fired at least twice at the correctional officer — changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison, court records show. Orta, 30, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a weapon by a gang member.
Authorities say Orta was one of three men involved in a shooting outside the now-shuttered Funky Buddha Lounge in the 700 block of West Grand.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported in June that, according to his family, stress caused by the shooting eventually led to the heroin-related death of Cook County correctional officer Michael Raines.
According to police records, on Nov. 30, 2014, Raines and his girlfriend left Richard’s Bar just north of downtown, near the intersection of Milwaukee, Grand and Halsted, around 3 a.m. Walking on to Milwaukee Avenue to their car, parked nearby on Union Street, they heard gunshots. Raines ran toward the shooting, his Ruger LCP .380 semiautomatic pistol in his back pocket.
A few minutes before, two men the police say were part of a street gang — Orta and Fernando “Fern” Lopez, both 27 — had left the Funky Buddha, just around the corner from Richard’s on Grand Avenue, with friends, according to police records.
Lopez, Orta and a third man got in to a Buick LaCrosse just outside and began heading west on Grand. After sideswiping two vehicles, including a BMW parked outside the bar, Lopez tried to keep going, according to police. A crowd outside the Funky Buddha — which closed in 2015 — surrounded the Buick, trying to keep it from driving off, according to police records.
The three got out of the Buick. Lopez and the third man fired a handgun into the air and at people on the street to disperse the crowd, according to police records. Raines heard the gunshots and ran around the corner.
Drawing his Ruger and identifying himself as a police officer, Raines ordered Lopez to drop the gun, the detectives wrote. Instead, they said, Lopez turned toward him, and Raines shot him.
Wounded, Lopez dropped the weapon and ran to the sidewalk on the north side of Grand. Raines, out of ammunition, ran after and quickly caught him, the police said.
Orta — who had 31 prior arrests and two convictions, for mob action and for aggravated battery to a police officer — picked up Lopez’s gun as the 6-foot, 245-pound Raines tried to hold Lopez on the ground until cops arrived, the detectives wrote.
They said Raines pointed his now-empty gun at Orta, ordered him to drop his gun and used Lopez as a human shield.
In the surveillance footage obtained by the Sun-Times, Orta can be seen shooting at Raines at least twice.
The detectives said Orta shot at Raines several times as he and Lopez were on the sidewalk. Raines wasn’t hit, but Lopez ended up with 10 gunshot wounds. Raines’ gun held only six rounds, and he didn’t bring extra ammunition.
Lopez remains free after being released into a pretrial services monitoring program.
About a year after the shooting, Lopez filed a federal lawsuit against Raines’ estate and the sheriff’s office. That case has been delayed pending the outcome of his criminal proceedings.
A third man, Nathaniel Nunes, then 22, was later charged in the shooting. He was arrested on March 16, 2015, in Humboldt Park, about a mile from Raines’ home in Ukrainian Village, records show.
Nunes, also identified by the police as a member of the gang they said Lopez and Orta belonged to, was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm by a gang member. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.
An internal Cook County sheriff’s investigation cleared Raines, who had worked at the Cook County Jail for three years, of any wrongdoing.
The sheriff’s office interviewed the lead detective who investigated the shooting, and he commended Raines for heroism.
Raines was reprimanded, though, for using “a handgun that he had not qualified with through the Cook County Sheriff’s Training Institute.”
After the shooting, Raines developed “emotional issues,” his parents told detectives after his death.
Also, during his struggle with Lopez, he aggravated an old back injury suffered years earlier in a car crash, according to a source who said that, during his recovery, Raines was prescribed painkillers. When he couldn’t get a prescription refilled, he turned to heroin, a source told the Sun-Times.
In early September 2015, Raines checked himself int o the rehab facility at St. Joseph.
On Oct. 8, 2015, at 11 a.m., he was discharged. About an hour and a half later, he boarded a southbound No. 53 Pulaski Road bus at Chicago Avenue, according to CTA security footage reviewed by police. Less than an hour later, he was found dead on a CTA bus in Little Village.
The medical examiner’s office ruled he died of a fentanyl-laced heroin overdose.