CHICAGO (CBS) — A 28-year-old man is facing federal assault charges, accused of shooting two ATF agents and a Chicago police officer in the Morgan Park neighborhood on Wednesday.
Eugene McLaurin is charged with one count of using a dangerous and deadly weapon to assault a special agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.READ MORE: Woman Injured In Crash On DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Good Samaritans Help Her Escape Burning Car
During his first court appearance Thursday afternoon, federal prosecutors said they would seek to have McLaurin held in custody as he awaits trial, and his defense attorney waived a detention hearing for now, meaning he will remain in custody for the time being. His next hearing is set for July 19.
McLaurin is accused of shooting two ATF agents and a Chicago police officer working undercover Wednesday morning as they were driving an unmarked law enforcement vehicle in Morgan Park.
According to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, the officers were in an unmarked vehicle on a ramp to northbound I-57, at 119th Street, when shots were fired from the street just before 6 a.m. Brown said the officers were conducting an investigation “in an undercover capacity” at the time of the shooting.
According to the charges, the two ATF agents and a Chicago Police officer working with an ATF task force were driving in an unmarked vehicle early Wednesday morning while taking part in a federal investigation, when they noticed a white Chevy Malibu following them, and they wrote down the vehicle’s license plate.
The Malibu pulled up alongside them while they were entering the Interstate 57 on-ramp at 119th Street, and McLaurin began shooting, wounding both agents and the officer, authorities said.
The officer and both agents were treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and have been released, officials confirm. One ATF agent was shot in the hand. The other agent was shot in the arm. The Chicago police officer suffered a graze wound to the back of the head. Officials confirmed all injuries are non-life-threatening.
One ATF officer is a man, the other a woman. The CPD officer is a man, and sources said he is part of an ATF task force.
All three are long time members of the ATF or CPD.
McLaurin was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon, after police tracked the vehicle he had been driving to 89th Place and Indiana Avenue, about five miles away from the scene of the shooting. Evidence markers were put near the windshield on the hood of the white Malibu.
A police source said the car was recovered through a GPS tracker that had been placed on the vehicle by law enforcement, some time before the shooting. The Malibu was towed away just before 1 p.m. Wednesday.READ MORE: Board President Toni Preckwinkle Marks 11,000 COVID Death In Cook County
The car was parked in front of a home on the 200 block of East 89th Place in the West Chesterfield neighborhood.
At a news conference Thursday, First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kocoras said McLaurin’s ID was found in the car.
According to the charges, when police went to the home Wednesday morning and questioned McLaurin, he “appeared sweaty and visibly nervous.” An officer took a picture of McLaurin and texted it to one of the victims, who said McLaurin’s twist hair style matched the shooter’s, but the victim couldn’t positively identify him from the photo.
McLaurin was taken in for questioning, and later admitted that he began following the unmarked law enforcement vehicle because he “believed that it was a vehicle driven by ‘opps,’ referring to members of a rival street gang,” the charges state.
He also admitted to opening fire with a Glock 9mm handgun, which he later dumped in a drain. Authorities found spent 9mm shell casings at the scene of the shooting and inside the Malibu.
McLaurin has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2013, including multiple convictions on drug and gun charges.
When asked why there was only one count filed against McLaurin, Kocoras said that count was sufficient for a charge in a criminal complaint to initiate the federal criminal justice process. A grand jury indictment is expected to come later.
Meanwhile, Supt. Brown praised Chicago police officers for confronting difficult situations as an everyday part of their job.
“They are rising to the challenge of doing all they can, and really the work that they do is extremely dangerous, and again I would just highlight, God bless Chicago police officers. They do this job in the bravest, most courageous ways, with commitment and dedication on display every single day for the people of Chicago,” Brown said.
Brown said this incident marks the 36th officer shot at or shot this year.
Meanwhile, during President Joe Biden’s trip to the Chicago area on Wednesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot briefed the president on the federal agents’ conditions:MORE NEWS: Woman In Serious Condition After House Fire In Portage Park
“During today’s meeting, Mayor Lightfoot gave President Biden an update on the ATF agents’ medical conditions and thanked him for his additional supports in the city’s fight against gun violence. She lauded the President for listening to the needs of cities and for the federal government’s recent announcements on public safety reform.”