A suspect in a Lincoln Park shooting was himself shot four days later near “The Bean” sculpture, then escaped from a hospital and was finally arrested at his home over the weekend.
Tyshon Brownlee, 19, has been charged with attempted murder and armed robbery. In all, Brownlee is accused of five armed robberies in Lincoln Park, Lake View, Edgewater and Uptown. Police said Brownlee has confessed.
In the Lincoln Park attack, Brownlee allegedly shot Dakotah Earley three times as Earley yelled out the passcode of his phone, a shooting caught on surveillance video.
Earley, 23, had been walking on a sidewalk at Webster and Wayne avenues around 3 a.m. on May 6 when he was confronted by Brownlee, who stepped out from behind a building, pointed a gun and demanded his cellphone, police said.
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Video shared with the website CWB captured Earley struggling with the gunman, who took his phone and demanded the passcode. Brownlee then opened fire at close range and shot him in the head and back, police said.
Brownlee’s accomplice could be seen getting out of a white car during the struggle, according to the video.
Earley remains hospitalized at Illinois Masonic Medical Center. He was shot in the jaw and will eventually need a voice box to communicate, according to Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who added that Earley’s grateful mother already was on a plane to Chicago from Atlanta.
The day after the attack, detectives began going through the video and were able to identify Brownlee as a suspect, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said. Then on May 10, Brownlee was wounded near “The Bean” sculpture in Millennium Park and was taken to Stroger Hospital.
By the time detectives in the case realized Brownlee was at Stroger, he was already gone, “probably understanding what was happening,” Deenihan said. Brownlee was arrested Sunday at his home in Oak Park.
Hopkins said he has been told by police that Brownlee was part of a robbery crew “responsible for an extensive pattern of armed robberies over the previous two weeks, across Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Edgewater and Uptown.”
“In those attacks, offenders wearing ski masks were driving stolen cars around residential neighborhoods in the overnight hours, looking for unsuspecting people walking alone or in small groups,” Hopkins said. “They would then jump suddenly from the vehicle with guns drawn to rob their terrified victims of phones, purses, and wallets.”
Deenihan noted that robbery crews in Chicago often “become more violent as they go along,” though he couldn’t say exactly why Earley was shot when the other victims were not.
“For this specific case, you could almost hear on the video, he takes the victim’s phone, then he starts asking for the passcode,” Deenihan said.
“And so I can’t tell you specifically is that the reason. You know, obviously, the victim in this case, you know, fought back … You guys can see on the video, his initial instincts are to fight back and then immediately it leads to the shooting.”
At a news conference announcing the charges, Police Supt. David Brown stressed the importance of private security cameras, noting that footage of the shooting helped lead to the arrest.
“They help us solve crimes faster,” Brown said. “But more importantly, they help us bring violent offenders off our streets to justice.
“We will not tolerate violence in this city,” the superintendent added. “Too many precious lives are being hurt or taken away because of a sheer disregard for human life, and that is unacceptable.”