A Chicago Police dispatcher shot and wounded an 18-year-old woman who shoved and pulled the city worker’s hair following the pair’s contentious traffic dispute in McKinley Park, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.
The victim, who was traveling with her 12-year-old brother and two small children after a trip to McDonald’s, was shot in the abdomen Wednesday afternoon and has since had surgery, Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti said.
Her prognosis unknown, the woman, who is awaiting two more procedures at Stroger Hospital, also suffered injuries to her pancreas and liver. The bullet remains lodged in her stomach, Antonietti told Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil, after describing the series of events that led to the gun violence.
Meanwhile, Keli McGrath’s attorney, Jim McKay, called the injured woman who is “significantly heavier” than McGrath the “bully” and “aggressor” in the confrontation.
McGrath also was taken to Stroger Hospital for a head injury, police said. McKay, a former prosecutor, said his 46-year-old client, a breast cancer survivor, had the “right” to carry a gun and defend herself.
The incident, which Kuriakos Ciesil called “road rage,” started when McGrath, who was on her way home from a hospital appointment shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday, tried pulling in front of the younger woman’s vehicle without signaling.
The younger woman honked and didn’t let McGrath pass into her lane, Antonietti said. Then, while stopped at a traffic light at 35th and Ashland , the younger woman threw a cup of soda through McGrath’s window, hitting her, Antonietti said.
The 18-year-old continued to pull into an alley, in the 3400 block of South Ashland, and McGrath followed behind, pulling out her phone to call police, Antonietti said.
The younger woman then got out of her car, argued with McGrath and went back into her vehicle to drive away. But McGrath stood in front of the woman’s car, preventing her from leaving, Antonietti said.
Apparently angered by McGrath’s actions, the younger motorist got out of her vehicle again, grabbed McGrath by the hair, and shoved her to the ground, Antonietti said. That’s when McGrath allegedly pulled out her gun and fired at the 18-year-old.
The weapon recovered from the scene had 10 live rounds and one bullet casing, Antonietti said. McGrath legally owned the gun, according to McKay, who said he was confident pod cameras capturing the encounter would prove McGrath was trying to protect herself.
McGrath, who lives in the Scottsdale neighborhood, has been employed with the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications for 22 years. It was unknown if she has been suspended or fired.
McGrath, who was charged with aggravated battery, was released on her own recognizance. The judge recommended that she be placed on electronic monitoring while she awaits trial.
Contributing: Jacob Wittich, Matthew Hendrickson