While Chicagoans who want to legally purchase and carry a gun are having to wait at least six months (and in some cases, more than a year) in order to get their required FOID card and concealed carry license, Chicago’s criminals are illegally carrying with impunity. And even when they are arrested, they’re quickly returned to the streets, even if they’ve been accused of serious crimes.
Take the case of Antwan Carter, who was arrested and charged with attempted murder back in 2018. Carter was released from custody in 2020 after a judge lowered his bail over COVID concerns in the Cook County Jail, and managed to avoid being returned to the jail even after he was arrested on charges of aggravated DUI and reckless driving back in June. Now Carter’s been charged with murder and attempted murder after allegedly shooting four people on the Eisenhower Expressway in April.
On April 12, 32-year-old Carter was with three other people in a red Dodge Durango that followed a carload of people from a nightclub in south suburban Harvey, prosecutors said Saturday. Just after midnight, as the cars neared Ashland Avenue on the Eisenhower Expressway, shooters from the Durango opened fire on the victims’ car.
The 22-year-old driver was shot in the head and died. Three of his passengers were also shot but survived. A fourth passenger was not injured.
The victims’ car crashed nearby, and the Durango also crashed near Damen Avenue, prosecutors said. Surveillance video shows four people running from the Durango and hiding in alleys and porches on nearby side streets.
One video shows Carter hiding on the 100 block of South Paulina, prosecutors said. Other videos allegedly show Carter’s girlfriend leaving her home and picking him up from his hiding spot.
State police investigators recovered an AK47-style rifle from the Durango. Casings from rifle fire and a handgun were found at the shooting scene. According to prosecutors, Carter’s fingerprint was found on the front passenger door, and his DNA was among four profiles recovered from the rifle’s trigger and grip.
Now Carter’s had his bail revoked, but it’s a little late, isn’t it?
Amazingly, most of the Chicago media is ignoring the fact that Carter was out on bond for the 2018 attempted murder when he allegedly committed this crime. Instead, the Chicago Tribune tried to put a positive spin on the April shooting by noting that at least an arrest was made.
The arrest and subsequent charges may provide a spark of hope for the families of the more than 165 people who have been shot on Cook County expressways so far this year. The number of shootings on state highways — which are under the jurisdiction of state police — have exploded exponentially in recent years and the cases can be notoriously difficult to solve for myriad reasons. Some expressways, such as the Eisenhower and the Dan Ryan, run through historically high-crime areas; there is relative ease with which to put distance between the shooter and the crime scene through on- and offramps; and it can be incredibly difficult locating witnesses without doors to knock on, experts have said.
In the first nine months of 2021, shootings on expressways outpaced those in all of 2020 with at least 165 gun attacks, according to data from state police. Last year, the area saw 128 such shootings, more than double that of 2019. There were 52 expressway shootings that year and 43 in 2018.
Crime in Chicago is out of control, and the responsible citizens who want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms for self-defense are being forced to wait for months on end before they receive their state-issued permission slip. Meanwhile, the state is sending those accused of heinous crimes back onto the streets with low bonds and no oversight, often within days of their arrest.
That’s not the only issue with Antwan Carter’s case, however. He was originally arrested on attempted murder charges in 2018. We’re now just a few months away from celebrating the start of 2022, and yet he still hasn’t gone to trial? This is another big issue in Cook County, but one that the city of Chicago, Cook County officials, and the state of Illinois seem unwilling to address. The argument for releasing suspects accused of violent crimes on bond becomes stronger when the alternative is them sitting in a jail cell for years on end awaiting trial, but the powers that be seem to be content to let the criminal justice system creep along, even when it results in more crime, more shootings, and more dead bodies.