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Gunman Arrested, Denied Bond In Death Of Aldi Security Guard

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Michael Smith (Chicago Police Dept.)

Michael Smith (Chicago Police Dept.)

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CHICAGO (STMW) – A recently captured federal fugitive was ordered held without bond Thursday for allegedly gunning down a security guard during a robbery at a South Side Aldi grocery store.

Michael E. Smith has also been charged with robbing another South Side Aldi in October with his now deceased cohort, Cook County prosecutors said.

Less than a month later, Smith and Develt Bradford walked into the Aldi at 9017 S. Halsted and killed 54-year-old Reginald Lanier, Assistant State’s Attorney John Dillon said.

While Bradford, 52, went to the checkout line to buy pudding, Smith pointed a weapon at the security guard who subsequently tried to push Smith’s hands away, Dillon said.

The men began to struggle before Smith fired twice, striking Lanier in the forearm and in the leg of 57-year-old woman who was placing her groceries in a bag, Dillon said.

As Lanier tried reaching for his service revolver, Smith fired again three times, this time striking Lanier twice in the chest, Dillon said. Smith, who is in his early 30s, allegedly shot Lanier once more–in the back—as he fell to the ground.

After the fatal shooting, Bradford proceeded to hold a cashier at gunpoint and demanded money from the register, Dillon said. The pair then left, taking $900 with them in an Aldi grocery bag, Dillon said.

Smith was on parole for a 2006 drug conviction at the time of the Nov. 10 murder.

On Oct. 28, Smith and Bradford robbed another Aldi, at 1508 W. 47th, Dillon said.

This time, Bradford got into the checkout line with a 12-pack of grape soda and eventually took out a gun and ordered the cashier to open the register, Dillon said.

Meanwhile, Smith allegedly took the store security guard’s firearm.

Approximately $1,200 was taken during the armed robbery, which was caught on video surveillance, Dillon said.

Bradford was arrested on Nov. 15 and admitted that he and Smith were involved in the crimes. Two days later, the South Side man hung himself by his pants in a lockup cell at the Calumet District police station.

Smith, who was identified in line-ups, was arrested in Racine, Wis.

The South Sider has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery-discharge of a firearm and armed robbery with a firearm.

In addition to his 2006 delivery of a controlled substance conviction, Smith has four other prior drug-related convictions.

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