Chicago teen accused of murder hours after court hearing on gun charge

Every day on Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we feature a story highlighting a failure of the criminal justice system in delivering adequate (or in some cases, any) consequences after a crime’s been committed, but generally it’s not the main focus of the show.

Today’s a little different, however, thanks to a story shared with me by Cam & Co viewer Jeffrey, who was ticked off after he saw the details of one of Chicago’s most recent murder suspects.

A 16-year-old boy had a hearing before a judge on a weapons charge on the same day he later carjacked a Lyft and gunned down another teen in Bronzeville — all while on electronic monitoring, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

The brutal Tuesday afternoon killing was captured on surveillance video and showed 16-year-old Anthony Brown get out of a stolen car, walk up to 15-year-old Michael Brown and shoot the younger teen once in the head, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Anthony Brown then stood over the younger boy and fired an additional nine rounds into the body, Murphy said.

Neither Chicago police nor prosecutors have offered a motive.

“Obviously, it was targeted,” Supt. David Brown said a day earlier when announcing charges in the case, but provided no additional details.

The two teens are not related, and no connections between them beyond the killing are currently known, a source with knowledge of the case told the Sun-Times.

Anthony Brown was arrested last June for illegally carrying a handgun, and was placed on electronic monitoring for a few weeks before it was removed and he was told to abide by curfew restrictions. Six months later, Brown was busted again, this time as a passenger in a stolen car while carrying a 9mm pistol.

Brown was once again placed on electronic monitoring rather than being taken into custody, but the criminal justice system had one more chance to take him into custody before he allegedly carried out his afternoon crime spree. When Brown appeared for an online court hearing, he was shirtless, causing the judge to suspend the hearing until the next day so the teen could be “dressed appropriately for court.”

I realize this isn’t how things are done in Cook County, but what would have happened if the judge had ordered Brown to be held in contempt of court and taken into custody by police? If it had made the news, the judge would have been blamed by the left for an over-the-top response to a teenager who didn’t know any better, but a 15-year old might be alive today if the courts had shown a little tough love.

Brown’s case highlights a much bigger issue with the juvenile justice system in Illinois, which is failing to rehabilitate many young offenders. As the state-run Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority reported in 2019:

Despite the juvenile justice system’s shift from punitive to rehabilitative correctional approaches, post-commitment youth recidivism continues to be a significant issue. While the number of incarcerated juveniles in Illinois has consistently decreased over the years, the recidivism rate remains high. To better understand the extent of Illinois youth recidivism, researchers measured three-year rearrest and reincarceration rates among a sample of youth released from state juvenile correctional facilities.

Over the three-year period post-release from the juvenile state correctional facilities, 87 percent of youth were rearrested, 55 percent were recommitted to a state juvenile correctional facility, and 54 percent were committed to an adult correctional facility. While Illinois has made efforts to reform juvenile justice in the state, recidivism remains high for those who are sentenced to a juvenile correctional facility.

At best these teens are getting warehoused for a few years before returning to the streets. But as the agency notes, fewer teens are going to juvenile facilities in the first place. That wouldn’t be an issue if they were successfully being rehabilitated, but that doesn’t appear to be the case either.

Instead, it’s the worst of both worlds; introducing these teens to the criminal justice system, and then teaching them exactly how impotent it is when it comes to dealing with young offenders.

I wish I believed that a fix was possible for Chicago, but I don’t see it happening unless or until there’s a complete change in leadership and the overriding progressive ideology driving the city’s politics. At least the Illinois State Police are doing a better job of processing FOID and concealed carry applications in a timely manner, and hopefully more Chicagoans are availing themselves of their right to lawfully bear arms in self-defense, because the city’s certainly not doing everything it can to protect the public.