A man who tried to rob an armored truck guard Friday morning in the Humboldt Park neighborhood was charged with the murder of his accomplice, who was shot dead by one of the guards, police said.
Robert Cary, 49, of the 800 block of North Central Park Avenue, was charged Saturday with murder, attempted armed robbery, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, according to police.
Cary, who remains hospitalized Sunday at Mount Sinai Hospital, was previously convicted of armed robbery.
Investigators were scheduled to appear before a judge Sunday without Cary where they will transfer Cary to the custody of the Cook County Sheriff's office, police said.
The incident happened about 9:45 a.m. Friday in the 3400 block of West Chicago Avenue.
One of the guards from Garda armored cars had just made a pick-up at the Family Dollar store, 3401 W. Chicago. He was walking back to his truck, parked in front, when the two armed men approached at about 9:45 a.m., police said.
One man walked up to the guard, put an apparent sawed-off shotgun under his chin, and said, “Don’t move.” Another man approached from the rear, put the guard in a chokehold and stuck a small revolver in his back, said Chicago Police Commander Anthony Riccio.
"Then the guard hears the guy from behind say, 'Kill him.' So, afraid he’s going to get killed, the guard grabs his own gun and shoots the guy in front of him with the sawed off shotgun fatally in the head," said Riccio.
Meanwhile, the guard’s partner got out of the truck and took a position by the front fender, Riccio said.
"The guard who was still in a chokehold sees his partner and immediately drops to the ground like dead weight, leaving the man with the revolver exposed," Riccio said.
The second guard fired multiple times, hitting the man in the eye and leg, Riccio said.
The dead man was identified as Jimmy Townsend, 52, of the 5400 block of West Quincy. An autopsy Saturday determined Townsend died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
Cary was initially taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was able to speak to doctors.
The guards were "shaken up," but not injured.
"They were longtime partners," said Riccio. "I don’t know if that ‘drop down’ move is something they practiced or rehearsed — but the timing couldn’t have been better," Riccio said. "The guard told us: 'I threw my legs up and my butt down and fell to the ground.'"
The robbery took place on a busy street, one block form a crowded strip mall.
"It was pretty brazen," Riccio said. "What they did was courageous and absolutely the right thing."
"And this all happened underneath a police camera," Riccio said. "But it was actually watching a drug deal go down a little further west on Chicago Avenue. Once the officers monitoring the camera heard this was happening, they zoomed in."
What the camera saw was the escape attempt of the man who was shot in the eye as he stumbled and crawled down the sidewalk. He only made it a few feet.
Another shock to investigators: "The shotgun was fake," Riccio said. "It was two pipes taped together with electrical tape. I saw it. It looked very good. But the revolver was real."