A man accused of stalking Mayor Lori Lightfoot and firing a gun in an alley near her Logan Square home was allegedly angry at the mayor over a number of parking citations he had received.
Joseph Igartua, 37, waved his finger, shook his head, shrugged and rolled his eyes when he appeared remotely Thursday for his initial court hearing via a live-streaming feed into the courtroom.
Igartua is accused of driving past Lightfoot’s home on 15 occasions between Jan. 17 and Monday afternoon in a black Nissan truck, which was allegedly recorded by a Chicago police license plate reader.
On Saturday, Igartua tried to deliver a “rambling” letter to Lightfoot’s home, according to a police source, but was stopped by officers.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
Prosecutors said he was found with a loaded gun, which police took apart to make it safe, but it was later returned to Igartua because he had a valid FOID and license to carry a concealed weapon.
A police report indicated that a background check conducted after Igartua’s arrest showed his FOID had been revoked and his concealed carry permit suspended. A police source said those measures were requested after he was in custody.
Igartua was told not to return, but allegedly came back again the following day.
This time, Igartua drove into an alley behind Lightfoot’s home and parked next to her garage, prosecutors said. Officers saw him and tried to make contact with Igartua, but he drove away, dropping a packet of papers in the street that contained a signed letter, a traffic ticket he had been issued and photos of his truck, prosecutors said.
The letter allegedly accused police officers of taking five of his bullets the previous day.
On Monday, Igartua returned to the mayor’s block and drove down the same alley and parked next to her garage again, prosecutors said.
Officers followed his car and stopped him for a traffic violation.
Igartua, allegedly armed again, was issued a ticket for speeding and he drove away, prosecutors said, but he was seen driving by again later that afternoon.
On Wednesday, Igartua was allegedly seen driving into an alley near Lightfoot’s home and shortly afterwards officers heard five gunshots, which were also recorded in a Shotspotter alert. The police report said the shots were fired in an alley in the 2500 block of North Tripp Avenue, over a mile from where Lightfoot lives.
Seconds later, Igartua was seen driving out of the alley in his truck, prosecutors said.
Officers followed him to a gas station, where he was placed into custody.
Two shell casings found inside Igartua’s truck matched the same gun as additional casings that were found in the alley, prosecutors said. The gun — a Glock 19 — was also allegedly missing five rounds from its magazine, authorities said.
Lightfoot issued a statement Thursday saying she hopes the incident serves as “an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how we engage with each other.”
“As a public official, you know people will feel strongly about the job you do for them, that comes with the territory,” she said. “What doesn’t come with the territory is threats of physical harm or worse.”
She went on: “We simply cannot lose sight of our individual and collective humanity. We need to model the behavior that we want our children to copy.”
Igartua has been arrested three times since 2005 for minor offenses such as reckless conduct and marijuana possession, Cook County court records show. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to a pot possession charge and was placed on court supervision for a year.
Cook County Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered Igartua held without bond Thursday on felony counts of stalking and aggravated discharge of a weapon.
During the hearing, Igartua at times shook his head and paced around the room at the courthouse where he was being held. A woman who said she was his mother declined to comment.
An assistant public defender for Igartua said he has two kids and was employed full-time until recently. The attorney said he would file a motion for a review of the judge’s ruling at his next court date on Feb. 25.