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Alleged gunman who shot cop charged in two cellphone store robberies

Dante Jeffries | Chicago Police

The man charged with shooting a Chicago Police officer as he fled from a robbery of a cellphone story last week is a convicted felon who had committed a similar holdup two weeks earlier at a different cellphone store, Cook County prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Dante Jeffries, 27, was ordered held without bail on attempted murder, kidnapping and armed robbery charges in connection with Friday’s robbery of a T-Mobile store in the Back of the Yards.

Jeffries and co-defendant Donzell Grant, 20, marched four store employees to the back of the shop and bound them with zip-ties, then demanded the combination to a safe, Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Bagby said at a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Grant and alleged getaway driver Cortez Harrington, 24, were also ordered held without bail Monday.

Prosecutors said it was Jeffries who fired the shot that struck the female Chicago Police officer who chased him and Grant as they fled the store with a bag of stolen cellphones.

Jeffries also was charged for a July 4 robbery of a T-Mobile store on the Near West Side, in which he and an unnamed accomplice used zip-ties to bind two store employees and again raided the safe, making off with 35 phones and cash from the register, Bagby said.

Detectives reviewing surveillance footage of Friday’s robbery recognized Jeffries as the perpetrator in the July 4 heist, and the two employees in that robbery identified Jeffries as one of the gunmen, Bagby said.

Jeffries committed both robberies while on parole for a 2014 conviction for aggravated use of a weapon and on electronic monitoring for a federal drug conspiracy charge.

Jeffries made his escape Friday after allegedly stealing a minivan at gunpoint, though he backed into Grant as he raced away in the stolen van. The police officer who was shot, a veteran of two years on the force, suffered a “shattered” knee cap and was in “excruciating pain,” Bagby said.