CHICAGO (CBS) — Calling the shooting “a direct attack on the criminal justice system,” Chicago police said they will use all available resources to find the gunman who shot and killed a Cook County judge, and wounded a 52-year-old woman described as the judge’s “close associate” Monday morning in the West Chesterfield neighborhood.
Chicago police said Cook County Associate Judge Raymond Myles and the woman were getting ready to go to the gym shortly before 5 a.m., when they were shot outside his home in the 9400 block of South Forest Avenue.
Myles was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at about 5:30 a.m. The woman who was shot was in serious condition at Christ Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg.
“Every day, civil servants like Judge Myles, and those of us in law enforcement, work tirelessly to hold criminals accountable and make our streets safer. That’s why when incidents like this occur, it’s not only a reminder of the ever-present challenge we have with illegal guns, and the offenders willing to use them, but it’s also a direct attack on the criminal justice system that keeps our society safe,” Chicago Police First Deputy Supt. Kevin Navarro said at police headquarters Monday morning.
Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples said Myles and the woman were “close associates,” and worked out together every morning. She said it appeared the woman was walking to the garage at Myles’ home when she came upon a man holding a gun.
“Words were exchanged, and the offender shot the female victim,” Staples said.
When Myles heard the gunshot, he came outside to investigate, and he also exchanged words with the gunman, before the man shot him several times, according to Staples.
Investigators said they have not confirmed a motive for the shooting, and said it’s not clear if the attack had anything to do with Myles being a judge.
“We believe that this could possibly be a potential robbery. We don’t know that anything was taken at this time,” Staples said.
Police said Myles’ companion called 911 after she was shot in the leg. The gunman fled the scene on foot, but might have gotten into a car nearby, according to Staples.
Investigators were reviewing video footage from nearby police surveillance cameras and private security systems.
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office confirmed Myles had been a Cook County judge since 1999.
“I join all of the judges today in the Circuit Court of Cook County in expressing our sadness regarding the tragic passing of our colleague and friend, Associate Judge Raymond Myles. I offer my deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the Criminal Division,” Evans said in a statement.
Myles had been a judge in the criminal division since 2009, and had been involved in several high-profile cases; including the notorious Brown’s Chicken massacre, and the murders of singer Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother, and nephew.
Myles denied bail to William Balfour, the man later convicted of killing Hudson’s relatives. He also presided over some pretrial proceedings for James Degorski and Juan Luna, the two men later convicted of killing seven people at a Brown’s Chicken restaurant in Palatine in 1993.
“Judge Myles joined the bench with a wealth of experience in law and extensive service to the community. I have always known Judge Myles to be focused and determined in the pursuit of justice, and his conduct earned him the confidence and respect of the people who appeared before him,” Evans said. “All of our colleagues at the Leighton Criminal Court Building will miss Judge Myles, who they came to know for his kindness and his impartial administration of justice.”
To the people on the usually quiet block where he lives, Myles was just a friendly neighbor.
“Actually, I feel scared, because I’ve been living over here for 10 years, and I see the neighborhood is changing,” Alison Rogers said.
Monday morning, the Cook County Bar Association issued a statement offering their condolences over Myles’ death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are also with Judge Myles’ companion, who was shot in the leg, for a full and swift recovery. Judge Myles, a long-serving and respected public servant who has been involved in several high profile cases throughout his career, will be deeply missed. He will be remembered as a jurist, a neighbor, and a friend,” the association said.
Area South Detectives were investigating the shooting.
The FBI has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the shooter.