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Bail set at $200,000 for man facing weapons charges stemming from deaths of 2 Chicago cops

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 12/21/2018 Rosemary Sobol
a close up of a man with a beard looking at the camera © Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune

Bail was set at $200,000 Thursday for a man who found a gun in a Far South Side alley and fired it twice to “test it,” setting off a chain of events that led to the deaths of two Chicago police officers hit by a commuter train earlier this week, Cook County prosecutors said.

Edward R. Brown, 24, who lives in the 10100 block of South St. Lawrence Avenue in Chicago, faces charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and reckless discharge of a firearm, both felonies.

Brown told police he was walking home from the 95th Street Red Line CTA station after work Monday as a cook at a downtown restaurant when he stopped to urinate in an alley and found a loaded .380 caliber handgun in a fanny pack, said Assistant State’s Attorney Guy Lisuzzo.

Later, he decided to fire the gun, so he walked to an embankment leading to train tracks near 103rd Street and Dauphin Avenue, climbed over a protective fence and onto the tracks, Lisuzzo said.

He then fired the gun twice, the prosecutor said, and at least one shot that touched off an alert from a ShotSpotter sensor.

Officers Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Gary were sent to the area to investigate about 6:20 p.m. Monday. The officers saw Brown, got out of their car and scrambled up to the tracks, according to police.

As a northbound Metra Electric train approached ahead of them, the partners stayed on tracks used by southbound trains, unaware they were in the path of another train, police said.

Others officers arrested Brown and took him to a police station — not realizing that Marmolejo and Gary had been fatally struck by the train.

Brown’s attorney, Frank Kostouros, told the judge that Brown was “devastated” by the officers’ deaths. Brown decided to fire the gun off on the train tracks, thinking that was safer, he said.

“It sounds stupid,” he said. “...However, my client wasn't shooting at anybody.”

“Judge, this is a completely unforeseeable and unfortunate series of event,’’ Kostouros said. “He wasn’t gangbanging. It was just the worst of luck.’’

a man wearing a suit and tie © Chicago Police Department

Despite the precautions he thought he was taking, Brown still fired a “loaded handgun on the streets of Chicago which is, inherently, dangerous,” Judge Stephanie Miller said at the bond hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building.

He has no criminal history in Cook County, officials said.

Marmolejo, 36, had been on the force for 2½ years, while Gary, 31, served as an officer for 18 months, police said. Both were fathers of young children.

They were among four Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty this year.

On Nov. 19, Officer Samuel Jimenez, 28, was killed in a mass shooting at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center on the Near South Side. Two women, Dr. Tamara O'Neal, 38, and pharmacist Dayna Less, 24, also were killed before the gunman died after he was shot by another officer in the abdomen and shot himself in the head.

On Feb. 13, Cmdr. Paul Bauer, 53, was fatally shot after chasing a suspect to a stairwell outside the Thompson Center in the Loop.

rsobol@chicagotribune.com

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