Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticizes lack of charges in fatal gang shootout

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticizes lack of charges in fatal gang shootout
Kim Foxx acknowledged the toll of the "staggering violence" plaguing some of Chicago's communities but is bound by legal standards when it comes to criminal charges. Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted a prosecutor’s decision not to charge five suspects in a fatal gang-related shooting, saying residents cannot “live in a world where there is no accountability.”

Lightfoot criticized Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx at an unrelated press conference Monday after her office declined to announce charges in the deadly West Side shootout early Friday between two factions of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“It’s complicated, for sure, but we really urge the state’s attorney herself to get personally involved, look at the evidence,” Lightfoot told reporters. “And I believe that there are charges that can be brought at a minimum against the individuals who initiated the gunfire. We can’t live in a world where there’s no accountability.”

Members of the Body Snatchers faction of the Four Corners Hustlers street gang drove up to a West Side home early Friday and started shooting into a residence with handguns modified into automatic weapons, according to a police report and a law enforcement source close to the matter, the Sun-Times reported.

Members of a rival faction, the Jack Boys, then fired back from inside the home, striking three suspected Body Snatchers, including one who died. Two of the Jack Boys were later arrested, police said.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticizes lack of charges in fatal gang shootout
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot slammed the state prosecutor, Kim Foxx, for not charging the five gang members associated with a shooting that occurred on October 1, 2021.

The Jack Boys initially refused to leave the home but three suspects were later arrested, including one man who was wounded.

More than 70 shell casings were recovered outside the home, a source told the newspaper.

Chicago cops sought to prosecute five suspects on murder and aggravated battery charges, but the state’s attorney’s office declined to charge them while citing insufficient evidence.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticizes lack of charges in fatal gang shootout
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx fired back, saying the mayor should know her agency is not obligated to try anyone without sufficient evidence.
Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File

Prosecutors told investigators the allegations were dropped because the shootout involved “mutual combatants,” according to a police report obtained by the Sun-Times.

Lightfoot and several West Side aldermen also sent Foxx a letter asking her to reconsider the decision, saying the suspects who opened fire were not acting in self-defense while noting that the gun battle was caught on a police camera, WFLD reported.

“As a result, we simply do not understand the decision not to seek felony charges, like attempted murder, against the remaining two offenders who initiated the gunfight,” the letter read.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticizes lack of charges in fatal gang shootout
Kim Foxx also said she isn’t sure why the mayor is making these statements.
REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo

Lightfoot and the aldermen said the “brazen violence” needed to be met with “swift and certain accountability” or it would lead to more “lawlessness” throughout the city.

The letter also indicated that neither Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown nor the chief of detectives backed the prosecutorial decision.

In response, Foxx noted that Lightfoot, as a former federal prosecutor, was aware of the office’s “ethical obligation” to only bring charges backed up by facts, evidence and law.

Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticizes lack of charges in fatal gang shootout
Kim Foxx said her office is still looking into the shooting, but was “unable to determine” how the shootout unfolded from the start.
AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

“She is also fully aware that as a prosecutor we are obligated not to try cases in the media,” Foxx said in a statement. “It is unclear why she has chosen to make such statements, especially absent the full information that was presented to our office by CPD.”

Detectives told Foxx’s office they were “unable to determine” how the shootout unfolded from the outset, according to her statement.

“We reviewed the evidence that was presented to us in consultation with the detectives and they agreed we were unable to approve charges based on the evidence presented,” Foxx said. “However, as always, as additional evidence is gathered we stand ready to bring charges when appropriate.”

Foxx acknowledged the toll of the “staggering violence” plaguing some of Chicago’s communities — but said she was bound by ethical and legal standards while considering criminal charges.

“I don’t play politics,” Foxx told the Sun-Times. “We do prosecutions. And it’s why we do our best to not engage in public conservations about cases because we recognize that as tragic and horrific as these incidents are, that if we want to see criminal justice and accountability, we do that in the courtroom.”

Brown, meanwhile, has said cops “seek charges on everyone” believed to be involved as “mutual combatants” in a violent crime, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“My personal opinion is, let’s have the jury sort it out in front of a judge,” Brown said. “But again, we have to work with the state’s attorney. Likely there are things we need to do more to present the case. And we’re willing to do that. But the real answer is, when you have mutual combatants, people shooting at each other, we want to charge everyone.”