War Zone: 5 Dead And At Least 25 Wounded Over The Weekend In Chicago Illinois Gun Battles

October 15, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – For the second time in her life, a South Side Chicago grandmother learned one of her grandsons was shot to death.

Florine Monroe said she received the call Saturday that her 17-year-old grandson, Richard Modell, was killed. The news came six months after Monroe buried another grandchild, who also was killed by gunfire.

“They’ve got to get these guns out of young people’s hands,” Monroe said, quietly crying.

Police said Modell and his 18-year-old friend were on their way to meet a friend around 9:30 p.m. Saturday when someone shot them in the 6300 block of South Rhodes Avenue. Authorities said Modell may have been targeted because of a fight between rival gangs.

“He was trying to get a scholarship for football,” Monroe said.

The 18-year-old with Modell was shot multiple times and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Police said they don’t believe he had any gang ties.

The teens were among the youngest shot over the weekend. Since Friday five people were killed and at least 25 people were wounded in separate shootings from Rogers Park to West Pullman neighborhoods.

Early Sunday, a 54-year-old woman was struck in the 700 block of East 79th Street in the Chatham neighborhood, police said. She was walking to a nearby store when someone opened fire. She was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where her condition stabilized.

In a separate incident, gunfire was exchanged around 12:30 a.m. Sunday in Rogers Park, police said, when a 21-year-old approached two men sitting in a van near Morse and Greeview avenues. The shooter was struck in the face and neck, and one of the men was shot in the back.

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Feds Investigating Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr’s Finances After His Mental Meltdown – Son Of Media Whore Jesse Jackson

October 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The snowballing troubles of Jesse Jackson Jr. took a new turn Friday with the revelation that federal investigators have launched a probe into “suspicious activity” in the South Shore congessman’s finances.

Focusing on a completely new area of scrutiny for the son of the famed civil rights leader, the investigation is not related to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attempted sale of a U.S. Senate seat, a scandal that has ensnared Jackson in the past, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rather, the probe — based in the Washington, D.C., FBI field office —is focusing on “suspicious activity” involving the congressman’s finances related to his House seat and the possibility of inappropriate expenditures, the sources said.

The probe was active in the weeks prior to Jackson taking a leave from his U.S. House seat on June 10, a leave his office ultimately attributed to his need for treatment for bipolar disorder, the sources said.

It was unclear whether the investigation involved the congressman’s official House spending account or his campaign finance account. But one source said it was an account monitored by Congress.

All members of the U.S. House receive an allowance to operate offices in Washington and in their districts. The allowances for rank-and-file members ranged from $1.4 million to $2 million in 2010, according to the House website.

Jackson’s congressional spokesman Frank Watkins said he was unaware of any investigation, had no comment and had no immediate way to get a hold of the congressman.

One of Jackson’s attorney’s, Paul Langer, repeatedly said “no comment,” when asked whether Jackson was under investigation related to his finances.

When asked if he was still representing Jackson or if the congressman had retained another attorney, Langer said:

“I can’t even comment on that.”

News of the probe — first disclosed by the Sun-Times — comes as questions increasingly swirl around Jackson’s absence from not only his official duties in Washington, but the campaign trail as the Nov. 6 election nears.

Citing exhaustion, Jackson, 47, stopped working, according to his staff, on June 10. His staff did not make that known until two weeks later.

He went to a clinic in Arizona then to the Mayo Clinic, which released a statement saying he was being treated for a bipolar disorder. Jackson is up for re-election Nov. 6 but has not campaigned since he won the Democratic primary in March.

The Jacksons put their Washington, D.C., home on the market last month at a price of $2.5 million. A campaign spokesman said at the time that the home was put on the market to pay for mounting medical bills. They subsequently took it off the market, saying it was a security issue.

Jackson came under scrutiny after one of his campaign donors approached Blagojevich with a pay-to-play offer regarding the appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Jackson has denied any wrongdoing, but that revelation sparked an investigation by a House ethics committee.

Jackson was first elected to Congress in 1995 and boasted of almost never missing a vote until he vanished from public view in June.

That’s when his office announced that he was taking off work to undergo medical treatment for “exhaustion.” Under pressure to reveal more details of his condition from even fellow politicians, Jackson’s office gradually dribbled out more extensive explanations over the course of the summer.

He finally surfaced nearly a month later when Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The clinic revealed Jackson was being treated for Bipolar II depression, “a treatable condition that affects parts of the brain controlling emotion, thought and drive and is most likely caused by a complex set of genetic and environmental factors.”

Jackson returned to his home in Washington, D.C., early last month, but he still has not returned to work. His wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), recently said he may not return until after the November election, when he is up for another two-year term in the U.S. House.

“I can’t speak to when that’s going to happen or how that’s going to happen,” she said. “I can only say that I will continue to rely on [doctors’] expertise. I would only ask for patience.”

The couple has been loathe to speak to the media.

During a fund-raising event last month, Sandi Jackson called reporters waiting to speak to her outside “jackals.” She went to great lengths to avoid the media that night, waiting inside the darkened, otherwise empty restaurant until the last camera departed before she would exit.

The congressman once was among the more extroverted Chicago politicians, but he has been far more reclusive since his name was first linked to the scandal surrounding Blagojevich almost four years ago.

Jackson friend and campaign contributor Raghuveer Nayak told authorities he approached the then-governor with a lucrative fund-raising offer that could have led to Blagojevich’s appointment of Jackson to Obama’s old Senate seat.

Jackson has denied that version of events, and he was never charged with wrongdoing.

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War Zone: Two Teens And 24 Others Wounded Overnight In Chicago Illinois Gun Battles

October 14, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Two teenagers were killed and 24 others were wounded during a city night filled with gun violence.

The youngest victim, Richard Modell, 17, died from his wounds after being shot along with a friend as the two went to meet a girl in the West Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side Saturday night.

Richard Modell, 17, may have been targeted due to a feud between two rival gangs, one of which police say he belonged to. He and the 18-year-old were on their way to meet a girl when someone walked up and opened fire in the 6300 block of South Rhodes Avenue just before 9:30 p.m., according to police.

Modell died after being taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in “extremely critical” condition with a gunshot wound to the chest. Modell lived about three blocks south of where he was killed, a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

The other teen, 18, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds; his condition was not available. Responding paramedics found both of them in the street.

Police said they don’t have any reason to think the older of the two affiliates with a gang and believe he may have been shot because he was with Modell.
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Bogus City Of Chicago Illinois Zoning Inspector’s Federal Bribery Conviction Overturned – Federal Prosecutors Used Overinflated Certificate Values To Meet $5,000 Minimum For Conviction Instead Of 2 Actual $600 Bribes

October 13, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A City of Chicago zoning inspector found guilty of taking bribes has had his conviction overturned — in part, because the bribes weren’t big enough.

Dominick Owens, 46, twice took bribes of $600 to issue certifications of occupancy for four newly constructed homes he hadn’t inspected, a jury found following a trial in November. Originally suspected of taking more than $20,000 in bribes in 2005 and 2006, he was sentenced in March by Judge Blanche M. Manning to a year and a day in federal prison.

But the sentence was reversed Thursday in a ruling issued by the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Justices ruled that Owens should not have been convicted because prosecutors didn’t prove the bribes he took were worth more than $5,000, as the law requires.

In their appeal, Owens’ attorneys did not dispute he took the two $600 bribes for homes on West 37th Place and on North Wolcott. Instead they argued that the certificates weren’t worth $5,000.

Circuit Judges William Bauer, Richard Posner and Diane Pamela Wood agreed.

In an opinion written by Bauer, they said that there were two ways to determine what the certificates were worth. There was the black market value of what someone was prepared to pay for one, which, at $600, was well below the $5,000 threshold, and there was what benefit the certificate would provide to the homeowners who greased his palm.

Prosecutors presented documents showing the homes were mortgaged from $200,000 to $600,000. But Bauer wrote that the certificates might have been issued later without a bribe, or after repairs had been made to the home, finding that the government had “failed to put forth any evidence linking the mortgages and the construction costs to the value of the issuance of the certificates.”

Owens’ attorney Michael Nash declared his client “delighted” with the ruling. He rejected the idea that Owens got off on a technicality, adding “it was because he was not guilty.”

Owens never served time for his conviction — he was allowed to remain free, pending his appeal.

He was one of 15 city employees netted as part of Operation Crooked Code, an undercover city-federal investigation into bribes for ignoring building code violations and speeding up paperwork. Other Crooked Code convictions are not believed to be threatened by the appellate court ruling.

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Retired Chicago Illinois Homicide Detective James Griffin Shoots And Kills His Son, Supposedly Mistaking Him For A Burglar

October 10, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A retired Chicago police officer accidentally shot and killed his son early Tuesday, after mistaking him for a burglar, the officer’s family said.

Michael Griffin, 48, was killed at his father’s home in the 5300 block of North Delphia Avenue. His family said Griffin’s father, retired Chicago Police Detective James Griffin, mistook Michael for a burglar. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Michael Griffin died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Tuesday was supposed to be moving day for James and Michael Griffin. Michael had lost his job and apartment, and James was helping him out, by letting him live at his home.

Michael’s brother Stephen said Michael was at home late Monday night with their father, at their father’s apartment near O’Hare International Airport.

Sometime late Monday night, or early Tuesday morning, Michael went out for a short time.

“My brother was staying there, and last I heard they were watching the Jay Leno Show, and my dad fell asleep,” Stephen Griffin said. “And I guess he assumed my brother was at home sleeping, and when someone came in the back door, he just naturally assumed it was an intruder.”

Police found Michael Griffin dead inside the condo at about 12:45 a.m.

Stephen Griffin said his father was a cop for 42 years, served as a homicide detective on the West Side, and retired in 1998.

He said “my brother was going through some hard times; lost his job, lost his apartment,” and had moved in to stay with his father.

Griffin’s neighbors said they didn’t hear a sound until police showed up.

“From what I heard, he shot him in the head. But I didn’t hear no noise,” neighbor Michael Mureibe said.

“No matter which way, accidentally or not accidentally, that’s terrible. Because the young man, I understand, is dead. That’s horrible. It’s terrible both sides,” said Steve Mayor, the maintenance man for the apartment building.

Mayor said he’s known the father for years, and that he couldn’t be a nicer guy. Now, his family is struggling as they try to explain this tragedy.

Stephen Griffin said he spoke with Michael’s 28-year-old daughter, who lives in Tennessee.

“It was kind of hard to talk with her,” he said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Area North detectives were investigating the shooting.

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Savage Black Beast Working At Chuck E. Cheese Stabbed Customer With Box Cutter After She Complained To Manager About Lousy Service

October 10, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – A Chuck E. Cheese’s employee is accused of stabbing a woman with a box cutter after an argument about a salad plate, police said.

Shardonnae Pruitt, 19, of the 9600 block of South Merrion Avenue in Chicago, was charged with simple assault and battery after the incident late last month, police Officer Laura Kubiak said.

The 25-year-old customer told police that Pruitt stabbed her about 3:15 p.m. Sept. 30 at the restaurant at 5030 S. Kedzie Ave., Kubiak said.

The customer was with a 40-year-old man who became angry that Pruitt had taken away his salad plate and threw his utensils on the floor and demanded to see the manager, police said.

Pruitt returned with the manager, and the man asked to make a formal complaint against Pruitt, police said. When the manager stepped away, Pruitt threatened the man, pulled out the box cutter and stabbed the woman, police said.

Security guards at the restaurant detained Pruitt until police arrived.

The woman was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Chicago, where she was treated and released.

A manager of the Chuck E. Cheese’s declined to comment Tuesday.

Pruitt is due back in court Nov. 14, according to court records.

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Broke: Cook County Illinois Board Considers “Violence” Tax” To Guns And Ammunition – 66% Of County’s $3 Billion Budget Already Funds Health Clinics, Hosptals, Criminal Justice System

October 9, 2012

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Drawing the ire of the gun lobby, Cook County Board President Preckwinkle is eyeing a violence tax on guns and ammunition sold in the city and suburbs, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Such a tax alone wouldn’t close a $115 million budget gap in 2013, but it could at least funnel money into the county’s $3 billion operation — where roughly two-thirds of the budget pays for both the county’s public health clinics and two hospitals along with the criminal justice system that includes the courts and jail.

“If we were to pursue a tax on something like guns and ammo, clearly that wouldn’t be popular with the [gun lobby] out there, and it may not generate $50 million, but … it is consistent with our commitment to pursuing violence reduction in the city and in the county,” Kurt Summers, Preckwinkle’s chief of staff, said on Monday.

The idea is to curb the number of guns in circulation, he said, citing a report issued last summer showing that nearly one-third of the guns recovered on Chicago’s streets were purchased in suburban gun shops. Other statistics are more dire: Murders in Chicago are up 25 percent this year, according to recent police statistics, and the county jail is filling up — with 9,000-plus inmates, nearing the 10,155 capacity.
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