Chicago Violence

Car in Fulton River District Shooting Tied to Dallas Rental Car Fraud Ring, Investigators Say

Investigators say a car taken in a rental car fraud ring in Texas was involved in a chase and shooting that left five people wounded in Chicago's Fulton River District in September

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Investigators in Texas say they have tied a car involved in a shooting in Chicago's Fulton River District late last month to an alleged rental car fraud ring operating at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

The allegations were revealed in an affidavit filed by the DFW Airport Police last week. In that document, an investigator laid out an elaborate scheme where cars were rented with counterfeit credit cards and driver's licenses, then transported to Chicago.

Police said one of those cars, a silver Audi sedan, was driven by the pursuers in a car chase and shooting where dozens of shots were fired in the Fulton River District neighborhood just before 5 p.m. on Sept. 29. Five people were wounded.

"I felt my leg go numb," one of the victims T.J. Kory told NBC 5 Monday. "I initially thought something had just hit my leg, and then when I heard more gunshots, I thought I must have just gotten shot!"

Kory had been riding a bicycle in the neighborhood when he was shot.

"As they came through, I noted that someone else had gotten shot across the street, so I could see other people gather around them as well," he said.

In the Dallas case, investigators were called to the DFW Airport Rental Car Center on Sept. 9, where they found three people in a car and two others involved in a car rental inside. The affidavit in the case says a search of the car turned up numerous phony driver's licenses and credit cards in various pockets, storage areas and even in a child's diaper bag.

"Officers believed all individuals were involved in the criminal conspiracy," the affidavit reads, "and actively engaging in the fraudulent rental of vehicles utilizing fraudulently made DL's and credit cards."

Investigators said one of the suspects, Demetrius White, "confessed he was in Texas to assist in transporting the fraudulently rented vehicles back to Chicago."

Investigators said when they asked White what would happen to the cars, "White advised the vehicles would be sold." Police said White told them there were between 10 and 15 cars parked at a Dallas hotel waiting to be transported back to Chicago.

Four other individuals - William Wilson, Deandre Singleton, Takiera Stephens, and Martel Clay - were arrested along with White. Investigators said they found several key fobs in Singleton's personal property.

A Dallas detective is quoted in the document as saying Wilson made references to "Zoe God," which the detective characterized as "the fraud kingpin to several organized crime groups, as many of these groups communicate this terminology on the street and through musical lyrics." The detective said Wilson "alluded to being one of the leaders within this fraud group."

Although all five face a variety of charges, none was charged with auto theft. And all had bonded out of the Tarrant County Jail by mid-September.

Investigators said they discovered seven of the allegedly fraudulently-rented cars in two different locations in downtown Dallas. The affidavit suggested that attempts were being made to re-key at least some of the vehicles.

Police said at least two more vehicles were recovered in Chicago and another in Wisconsin.

On the day of the Chicago shooting, DFW Airport Police were contacted by Chicago Police and informed that one of the cars taken in Dallas, a 2021 Audi Q3 sedan, had been used in the shooting. Two men were seen firing shots from the Audi in the direction of a fleeing Nissan SUV, according to police. Authorities said one man in the SUV was hit, along with Kory, two pedestrians and a passenger in a rideshare vehicle.

Chicago police said the Audi struck several parked cars but was not recovered, and no arrests have been made in connection with the incident. At least 30 shell casings were recovered at the scene, officials said.

There is no suggestion in the document that the five suspects arrested in Dallas had any role in the Fulton River District shooting, or how many other individuals, if any, might be involved in the alleged rental car fraud operation. But the detective preparing the report stated, "Your affiant believes people involved in the fraud conspiracy are also involved in the shooting incident which occurred in Chicago."

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