CHICAGO (CBS) — The grand jury’s decision on an indictment for the man connected to the deaths of two Chicago police officers struck and killed by a passing train will come in two and a half weeks.
Thursday afternoon 24-year-old Edward Brown walked into court and waved to the dozen or so family members who gathered for a hearing in court today.
He was told to keep his hands down.
“It’s his first time ever being in jail, his first contact with police. It’s all new to him and he’s doing the best he can given the circumstances,” said Frank Kostouros, Browns attorney.
Kostouros says the circumstances in this case are “one-in-a-million.”
Brown is the suspect that Officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo were chasing across the train tracks near 103rd and Cottage Grove when they were struck and killed by a South Shore line train on Dec. 17.
Brown allegedly found a gun in an alley and went to the tracks to “test it out.”
“He thought he was being smart by taking it and testing it to the tracks that there would be no people,” Kostouros said.
But ShotSpotter picked up the sound of the shots, and that’s why Officers Gary and Marmolejo were dispatched to the scene.
“He had no idea that there was officers on the tracks neither did the officers that ultimately arrested him,” Kostouros said. “This chain of events that set this off was entirely unforeseeable, unanticipated consequence.”
Brown was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Both charges are punishable by one to three years in prison.
But CBS 2 learned that the actual sentences for “shots fired into the air” cases can vary widely.
In 2012, an Elgin man was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm after firing dozens of shots into the air at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. But Charles Steward ultimately served a grand total of just 6 days in jail and was ordered to serve 100 hours of community service.
Meanwhile just last year, a Bellwood man was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm after shooting up into the air as he drove down the block. Because of Jose Mendoza’s extensive criminal history, he’s currently serving seven years in state prison.
Brown’s attorney responded to calls for murder or manslaughter charges to be brought against his client saying that what happened to the officers is tragic but Brown should not be punished for murder. At this time, he says the state has given no indication that they will move to upgrade the charges.
Brown is being held on a $200,000 bond.
CBS 2 reached out to the large group of family members who were in court Thursday for comment. They said right now they are not going to speak publicly out of respect for the officers’ families, who buried their loved ones just last week.