Cook County news briefs

An Indiana man is facing a felony charge for firing his semiautomatic rifle outside the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago and then entering the building. No one was injured in the incident. ( photo)


 Feds: Felon brought rifle to VA hospital

A convicted felon has been charged illegal possession of a firearm for allegedly bringing a rifle into Chicago’s Veterans Affairs hospital.

Bernard Harvey Jr., 40, of Indianapolis, formerly of Chicago and Waukegan, has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Harvey illegally possessed the rifle on Aug. 12 at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, 820 S. Damen Ave., according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The Indiana man opened fire with his semiautomatic rifle outside the Medical Center and then entered the building before being apprehended, according to law enforcement officials. No one was injured in the incident.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. said holding convicted felons accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the U.S. Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy. In the Northern District of Illinois, Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack violent crime issues facing the district, including by prosecuting individuals who illegally possess firearms.

According to the complaint, Harvey entered the Taylor Street entrance of the Medical Center while holding the rifle. Law enforcement officers saw Harvey in the clinic area and order him to drop the rifle, which he did, the complaint states. Officers than ordered Harvey to the ground and placed him under arrest.

Harvey was previously convicted in the Circuit Court of Cook County of multiple felonies, including gun offenses, and he was not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm. The rifle in Harvey’s possession at the VA medical center had been reported stolen in July from a federal firearms licensee in Indiana, the complaint states.

Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

 Victims robbed at gunpoint

Chicago police are looking for offenders who have robbed victims at gunpoint in the city’s Shakespeare, and Grand and Central neighborhoods.

In the incidents in the 14th and 25th  Police districts, between one and five offenders have arrived in a dark SUV, possibly a Hyundai Santa Fe. In one incident, the victim observed the partial license plate number of “ZY9” on the SUV.

After arriving, the offenders produce a silver handgun and announce a robbery, taking personal belongings from the vehicle and then fleeing.

The robberies occurred at:

  • 10:48 p.m. Aug. 7 in the 3700 block of West Wrightwood.
  • 8:50 p.m. Aug. 8 in the 1300 block of North Paulina.
  • 8:11 p.m. Aug. 9 in the 4100 block of West Wellington.
  • 11:57 p.m. Aug. 9 in the 3000 block of West Schubert.
  • 1 a.m. Aug. 11 in the 2300 block of West Wabansia.
  • 2:15 a.m. Aug. 12 in the 2300 block of West Belden.

One of the offenders has been described as a Hispanic man, 20-25 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches to 6-0, 160 pounds, with long brown hair.

Another offender has been described as a man, 20-25 years of age, with brown hair.

A third offender has been described as a Hispanic male with black hair.

The fourth suspect is simply described as a Hispanic male, and the fifth suspect is simply described as a black male.

Police offered the following tips to avoid being robbed and how to react, if the victim of a robbery:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Pay attention to any suspicious people loitering in the area.
  • If confronted by an assailant, remain calm.
  • Save any surveillance video which captured the incident or offenders.
  • Never pursue an assailant.
  • Call 911 immediately and provide a detailed description of the offender or offenders, including any vehicle description and license plate information.

Anyone with information about any of the armed robberies or the offenders should contact the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Detectives for Area North at 312-744-8263.

Police hunt for woman missing two weeks

Chicago police are looking for a woman who has been missing for two weeks and may be in need of medical attention.

Sonia Larson, 49, was last seen Aug. 5 in the 100 block of North Mason in Chicago.

She is white, 5 feet 3 inches, 125 pounds, with brown eyes, gray and brown hair, and a light complexion

Anyone locating Larson should call the Chicago Police Department’s Area North Special Victims Unit at 312-744-8266.


Paintball Open planned in Gaelic Park

The 2019 NXL Paintball Open will be held Sept. 13-15 at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest.

NXL will welcome top players in the industry, with 20 professional paintball teams competing. In addition, more than 200 amateur teams will be in attendance. Music, food and drink vendors, corn hole, a vendor trade show and volleyball will also be available at the park, located at 6119 147th St.

Paintball competitors will be vying for the Midwest Championship title.

“We are thrilled to have NXL return to Gaelic Park this year,” said Jim Garrett, president/CEO for the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This event has consistently been an excellent opportunity for both players and spectators alike. We have enjoyed watching this event grow over the past three years.”

The action starts with games as early as 7 a.m. On Sept. 15, the event will conclude with an awards ceremony at 5 p.m.

Visitors can catch all the amateur action for free during the weekend. To watch the professional competition on center court, grandstand and VIP seating options are available. Adult tickets start at $10 per day or $25 for three days.

For information or to purchase tickets, visit


Man charged with sex abuse

A Richton Park man has been charged in connection with the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart said that a department investigation revealed that Tyrees Fonder, 21, a resident of the 4100 block of Arlington Drive, sexually abused the victim while she was staying overnight at the home of a family friend in University Park on Aug. 12 and 13.

Fonder appeared in bond court Aug. 15 on charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for the alleged attack. He was released on a $20,000 individual recognizance bond. His next court date is Sept. 4.