An off-duty Chicago Police officer accused of shooting at a truck a Merrionette Park police officer and his friend were in testified Monday that he had only fired warning shots in the air because he was in fear for his life as the large vehicle came barreling toward him and his partner, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
“I had no idea who he was or why he was pursuing us,” John Gorman said of the motorist who he said had earlier tried to cut him on the Southwest Side on Nov. 23, 2014.
“I didn’t know if he was someone I had previously arrested or he was trying to carjack us.”
Gorman said the passenger in the truck later pounded on his window and swore at him while he was stopped in traffic.
Gorman’s partner, Timothy Neylon, also said he was frightened as the incident, which appeared to be “road rage,” came to a head near the 22nd District police station where the two worked.
Gorman, who is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated assault, said he got out of his tan Buick and shot in the air five times to scare off the occupants of the Ford F-250.
“I didn’t know their motivation. . . . I thought they were trying to hit us,” said Gorman, 54.
Assistant State’s Attorney Ahmed Kosoko said it was “a load of crap” that Gorman only fired in the air. He shot at the “monster truck” and knew what he did was wrong, Kosoko said.
“He shouldn’t have a gun, and he certainly shouldn’t have a badge,” Kosoko said in his closing statement before Judge James Linn.
Kosoko and fellow prosecutor Kenneth Goff maintained that Gorman, who had been drinking at an American Legion hall in Worth with Neylon, shot toward Dominic Dimaggio and Charles Ostrowski because he was angry after being called out for nearly hitting a flower vendor as he drove erratically.
Dimaggio, then an off-duty Merrionette Park police officer, and Ostrowski had also been at the American Legion minutes before they saw Gorman weaving in and out of traffic at 111th and Pulaski.
Dimaggio said he got out of Ostrowski’s truck a few blocks later and pounded on Gorman’s Buick to see if he was OK. Dimaggio had been holding up his badge. But Gorman, who had an open bottle of beer in his car, drove away when the light turned green, prosecutors said
Ostrowski followed Gorman until he stopped at Prospect and Pryor.
Dimaggio and Ostrowski said they ducked underneath the truck’s dashboard as soon as they saw Gorman holding a gun. Ostrowski testified earlier in the bench trial that he hit the gas pedal and went around the parked Buick before he heard gunshots.
Defense attorney Michael Clancy questioned Dimaggio’s and Ostrowski’s credibility and pointed out that evidence technicians couldn’t find any bullet holes in Ostrowski’s truck.
Clancy said Gorman was worried that a “psycho” in a “Tonka” truck was on his tail.
Gorman said he was not intoxicated and had been driving normally although he had four or five beers at the American Legion where he watched a Bears game and attended a charity raffle contest.
Gorman, now on desk duty, initially refused to take a Breathalyzer test. More than five hours later, Internal Affairs investigators required him to do so; his blood-alcohol content tested 0.07, just under the legal limit for driving. Gorman was charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence.
In court Monday, Gorman and Neylon said they never identified themselves as police officers, went to the 22nd District police station to report the incident or ask their colleagues for help. Instead, they went home.
“They were going to take care of it themselves,” Goff said. “They were going to do a little street justice.”
Dimaggio resigned from the Merrionette Park Police Department last year, according to records.
Linn is expected to issue his ruling on Gorman’s trial on Wednesday.