Cook County Dept. of Corrections Employee Accused of Fatally Shooting Man Outside Niles Bar Held Without Bail

"It was wrong because his back was towards me," Kettina told officers after the shooting

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A Cook County Department of Corrections employee who is accused of fatally shooting a 22-year-old man outside a Niles restaurant just days ago was ordered to be held without bond in a court appearance on Tuesday.

Court documents allege that Alan J. Kettina, 25, of Northbrook, fired several shots at 22-year-old Mark Asber while Asber had his back turned toward Kettina in the parking lot of a Niles nightclub just after 1 a.m. on Sunday, resulting in Asber's death.

Officials say Kettina was an acquaintance of Asber, and was employed by the Cook County Department of Corrections at the time of the incident.

According to a statement from the Cook County Sheriff's Office, Kettina, a corrections officer, was hired in November 2021. He was "de-deputized" Sunday in connection with the investigation, the office said.

"The Sheriff’s Office is cooperating in any way it can with the investigation and would refer all questions to the Niles Police Department," the statement read.

The incident took place just after 1 a.m. Sunday, outside Miraj Restaurant in the 8800 block of Milwaukee Avenue in Niles, officials said.

According to the bond court proffer, Asber had been employed by Miraj as a busboy for the past two months, and was at the restaurant on Saturday in an attempt to pick up an extra shift.

Court documents revealed that Asber had exchanged text messages with Kettina two days prior. Kettina had been a regular patron at Miraj in the months leading up to the shooting.

According to court documents, Kettina arrived at Miraj on Saturday evening with a friend he had met a year prior at approximately 8:30 p.m., before leaving at around 10 p.m. to visit a bar in Chicago.

Kettina and his friend then returned to Miraj sometime before midnight, according to the bond court proffer. Kettina and Asber interacted at Miraj throughout the evening, court documents revealed.

Shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, Kettina was standing in the lobby of Miraj when Asber entered the lobby, according to the bond court proffer. The proffer said Asber and Kettina exited the restaurant shortly thereafter.

Miraj is typically open from 11 a.m. until 4 a.m., seven days a week.

According to the bond court proffer, Asber and Kettina then smoked cigarettes and walked together toward the parking lot before entering Kettina's car, a white Jeep Compass.

Kettina drove around the area for approximately two minutes with Asber in the vehicle with him before driving down an alley and pulling into a parking spot next to a swimming pool business, court documents alleged.

According to the bond court proffer, nearby video surveillance captured Kettina parking the vehicle and the subsequent shooting.

Court documents allege that both Kettina and Asber exited the vehicle, with Asber starting to walk away from Kettina and his vehicle.

At this time, Kettina reached into the glove compartment of his vehicle and grabbed a pistol, walking from the driver's side of the vehicle to the back side, according to the bond court proffer.

Court documents said that Kettina then raised his arm holding the pistol, with Asber standing approximately four diagonal parking spaces away from Kettina at this time.

According to the bond court proffer, as Asber continued to walk away from the vehicle, Kettina fired four rounds from his pistol, striking Asber. Asber then ran down the alley toward Miraj before turning the corner and collapsing.

Court documents allege that Kettina fired four times in five seconds before re-entering his vehicle. As Asber ran toward Miraj, Kettina drove away before returning to where Asber had collapsed approximately two minutes later.

According to the proffer, Asber collapsed just outside Miraj, with several patrons coming outside to render aid. Kettina then exited his vehicle and approached Asber to administer CPR.

Kettina was still present at the scene when Niles police officers responded at 1:05 a.m. Sunday, court documents revealed.

Asber was transported to a local hospital shortly afterwards where he was pronounced dead, according to authorities.

An autopsy on Asber revealed that a bullet entered the left side of his chest, passing through his left lung, heart and right lung before exiting on the right side of his chest.

According to officials, four shell casings and Kettina's Glock 17 were recovered at the scene. Kettina's weapon had a 17-round capacity, and 13 live rounds were located inside the weapon.

Kettina's Jeep Compass was also recovered by police, officials said.

According to the bond court proffer, multiple surveillance videos capture different portions of the incident, from the shooting itself to the pair exiting Miraj together.

Additionally, witnesses familiar with both parties identified both Asber and Kettina in still photographs, officials said.

Asber was not found to be armed at any time during the night, the proffer said.

Kettina was taken into custody at the scene and subsequently admitted to shooting Asber when his back was turned toward him.

"It was wrong because his back was towards me. Which is what’s wrong now – if an aggressor comes towards you, it’s a different situation. But the fact that his back was turned toward me was more of an easy target for me. I’m not going to lie; I took advantage of it," Kettina told officers.

Kettina is being charged with first-degree murder, and is being held without bail on the premise that a life sentence could be imposed in the event of a conviction.

Monday evening, people gathered at the Assyrian National Council to pay their respects to Asber's family.

“It hurts so bad,” said neighbor Guillermo Oquendo. “As a person he was very kind. I knew him since he was a little boy."

“I cried. So sad. People, young people -- one go to jail, one died,” said Margaret Youl, who was in attendance at the Assyrian National Council along with the family of Asber and community members to commemorate the victim’s life.

“What else is there left to do? When your child is gone and they killed him,” said Oquendo.

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