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Man gave gun to shooter who killed mom with stray bullet, prosecutors say

Marco Zavala | Chicago police

At his bail hearing Wednesday, prosecutors said 24-year-old Marco Zavala provided the gun used in a shooting that tragically killed a young mother when she was struck by a stray bullet in front of her two sons while shopping on the Southwest Side.

After the shooting, prosecutors said, Zavala also got rid of the gun by selling it.

Judge Arthur Wesley Willis ordered Zavala held without bail during the hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

Zavala faces a count of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Candice Dickerson, a 36-year-old mother of three who was struck by a stray bullet fired by one of Zavala’s co-defendants during an apparent gang-related attack on April 26, authorities said.

Candice Dickerson | Facebook
Candice Dickerson | Facebook

On Tuesday, the accused shooter, 23-year-old Bryant Mitchell, was also ordered held without bail on a charge of first-degree murder.

Prosecutors said both men also face three counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting, which allegedly occurred when Mitchell, Zavala and a still unidentified person saw someone sell marijuana out of a silver Chrysler sedan in a parking lot across the street from where they were standing.

The three men — all reputed members of the Satan Disciples street gang — then crossed the street into the lot and Mitchell flashed a Latin Kings gang sign at the three men inside the Chrysler, an apparent attempt to deceive them into thinking Mitchell was a Latin King, prosecutors said.

The Chrysler then left the lot and Mitchell, Zavala and the third suspect tracked the vehicle as it went around the block, prosecutors said.

Bryant Mitchell | Chicago police
Bryant Mitchell | Chicago police

During that time, Zavala was recorded by video surveillance as he ran to his girlfriend’s nearby home and ran back out a short time later, prosecutors said. He then passed an object to Mitchell.

RELATED: No bail for man accused of fatally shooting mother in cellphone store

In a video-recorded interview with detectives after being taken into custody, Mitchell allegedly said Zavala gave him the gun, which he then used to fire four shots at the Chrysler sedan near 59th and Troy streets, prosecutors said.

The first shot shattered the rear window of the sedan and two following shots struck a nearby ambulance, but didn’t wound anyone, prosecutors said.

The fourth shot went through the front window of a Metro PCS store at 5900 S. Kedzie and struck Dickerson in the head while she was shopping with her two youngest sons, ages 10 and 12, authorities said.

She was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and pronounced dead shortly after.

Candice Dickerson’s mother, Sandra Respress-Hambling, and stepfather, Dwight Hamblin, hold a commemorative plaque unveiled Tuesday at Norwegian American Hospital honoring their daughter. | Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times
Candice Dickerson’s mother, Sandra Respress-Hambling, and stepfather, Dwight Hamblin, hold a commemorative plaque unveiled Tuesday at Norwegian American Hospital honoring their daughter. | Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

Her co-workers at Norwegian American Hospital, where she worked as a pharmacy technician, honored her on Tuesday with a memorial plaque that will be placed in the hospital’s pharmacy wing.

After the shooting, prosecutors said Mitchell, Zavala and the third person ran to the rear of the apartment building where Zavala’s girlfriend lived.

Authorities have said they used video surveillance cameras from across the area to piece together the three offenders’ movements before and after the shooting. Some of the video clearly shows the Mitchell and Zavala’s faces, while other footage captured the clothing they were wearing at the time, prosecutors said.

Zavala’s court-appointed assistant public defender said he had recently worked in construction and at a lumber yard, had two kids and was about to become a father for the third time. He had not completed high school, but had earned his GED and was living with his parents, his attorney said.

Mitchell was taken into custody Saturday and Zavala was arrested Sunday, according to Chicago police records.

Zavala, of Gage Park, was expected back in court May 24.