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West Side Shootout Suspect Expected In Court; Charges Filed Months After Clash Between Mayor Lightfoot, State's Attorney Foxx Publicly

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot, police Supt. David Brown, and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx came together Thursday to announce charges in a deadly shootout on the city's West Side back in October.

Initially, the State's Attorney's office declined to bring charges in the shootout – leading to an exchange of finger-pointing and harsh words between the State's Attorney and the mayor.

Thomas Dean, 20, is charged with three counts of unlawful use of a weapon in the Oct. 1 shootout in the North Austin community, which was caught on video. Foxx said Dean used an automatic weapon, and thus is charged with a Class X felony.

Dean is expected in court on Friday.

Thomas Dean
Thomas Dean (Credit: Chicago Police)

If convicted, he faces a sentence of six to 30 years in prison for each count.

Foxx said the investigation is ongoing, and more charges are likely to be announced in the coming days.

Foxx said Dean will appear in bond court on Friday, and a search warrant has also been approved for another suspect.

No murder charges have been filed.

Supt. Brown said Dean was apprehended by Chicago Police and the Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force in the 2800 block of West Monroe Street.

"I can only imagine the trauma to the hearts and minds of residents up and down the block as they took cover in their own homes. Our homes are supposed to be safe places – places of refuge, peace, not fear and violence," Brown said. "There was no rhyme or reason for a gunfight in broad daylight, and every resident deserves better. No residents should be faced with that kind of terror."

Chicago Police said around 10:30 a.m. Oct. 1, 25th (Grand Central) District tactical officers responded to a call of a man with a gun near Potomac and Mason avenues. When they arrived on the scene, they saw four people get out of two cars in front of a home in the 1200 block of North Mason Avenue, and start shooting at the house.

People inside the home returned fire, shooting one of the attackers, as other assailants fled the scene in the two vehicles.

The assailant who was shot was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Two people who were wounded inside the home also went to the hospital, but their conditions were not available.

One of the vehicles that fled the scene was later found burned out near Lockwood and Chicago avenues. The second vehicle that fled the scene crashed in Oak Park near Austin Boulevard and Harrison Street. Oak Park police said the driver ran off after crashing, but was arrested in the 700 block of Lyman Avenue, with the help of Chicago Police and a canine unit.

Police said two other people were taken into the custody of Area Five detectives before they were eventually all released.

Foxx said sometimes it takes longer than ideal to file, but cooperation between the State's Attorney's office and Chicago Police paid off.

"Today's charges are an example of how the system works for collaboration, and the fact that we are all working together to keep our community safe," Foxx said. "The Cook County State's Attorney's office will continue to make charging decisions based on the facts, the evidence, and the law – no matter how long it takes to get the result."

Mayor Lightfoot emphasized that residents of the city's West Side want peace just like people everywhere else in the city, and she said regardless of any disagreements, all the officials at the news conference want to send a message about accountability for crimes.

"I think the simple message today is accountability. To the criminal who think that they can shoot up neighborhoods without any regard for the sanctity of life, we will be relentless in holding you accountable," Lightfoot said. "No matter how long it takes, no matter the odds or the obstacles, we will hold you accountable."

While the message was about a unity between officials on Thursday, back in October, there was anything but.

A "mortified" Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx on Tuesday stood by her office's decision to reject charges in a deadly West Side shootout, and criticized Mayor Lori Lightfoot for making statements that "were not factually accurate" about the case, as the mayor is now calling for a federal investigation of the shooting.

As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported in October, while Mayor Lightfoot demanded answers about the lack of charges in the shootout, Foxx did not give specifics. In addition to insinuating that the mayor was lying, Foxx also criticized the mayor's grounds as being politically motivated.

While the message was about a unity between officials on Thursday, back in October, there was anything but. At that time, Foxx said there was not yet sufficient evidence to file charges in the case, and said top brass at the Chicago Police Department agrees with her assessment of the case.

Lightfoot repeatedly called for Foxx's office to reconsider its decision to reject charges in the case at that time.

"I'd like her to explain, because I can't explain it," the mayor said at the time. "We have to understand how it's possible, when this kind of shootout is captured on film, that there were no charges of any person, even though people were brought into custody and arrested."

The mayor added back at that time that she was also asking the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago to look into the possibility of filing federal charges.

"I think what people want to know is how is it possible, given what we saw, that we've all seen on videotape, with officers on the scene, that not a single person has been charged," Lightfoot said in October. "This isn't about pointing fingers and doing that. We've got a responsibility to our residents, and we have a responsibility to make sure that those who are wreaking havoc in our community are held accountable. It's a simple matter of justice. That's what our residents want."

Foxx fired back, saying also said it was "inappropriate" for Lightfoot to discuss the facts of the case in public while it remains under investigation.

"I was quite honestly mortified by what happened yesterday, particularly because the mayor, as a former prosecutor, knows that what she did yesterday was inappropriate," Foxx said in October.

In October, the initial reports were that prosecutors had decided not to file charges in the shootout on the grounds that it was a case of "mutual combat." Foxx claimed to CBS 2's Charlie De Mar that the State's Attorney's office did not cite such a reason.

"The State's Attorney's office never said mutual combatants – never, not once," Foxx said. "What has changed is what I said initially – is that we needed additional evidence to be able to bring significant charges."

New scientific and forensic evidence has surfaced since October, and thus, charges have now been filed, Foxx said. She said she would never ignore a such case when the community has been put in danger.

Both Lightfoot and Foxx said the unity in their mission was genuine, with Foxx downplaying the prior discord between the officials.

"Again, we aren't going to agree on every issue," Lightfoot said. "This isn't some false show of unity."

"I recognize the sexiness of a conversation about leaders combating one another," she said. "There was nothing sexy about what happened here."

De Mar also asked Foxx if she anticipates whether there could be murder charges in this case.

"We are going to look at all the evidence and bring charges where appropriate," she said.

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