A customer at a West Side hotdog stand claimed he was disrespected by an employee before returning with a gun and killing the worker, Cook County prosecutors said in court Thursday.
Joseph Freeman got into an argument with the worker, Jose Adalid Celis Gonzalez, at the Original Maxwell Street restaurant last Friday and said he’d come back with a gun and “shoot up the place,” prosecutors said.
After Freeman made a “gun gesture” with his hand, an off-duty cop in line at the restaurant calmed Freeman down, prosecutors said. The officer’s friend walked Freeman back to his car and he left.
But Freeman returned 20 minutes later with a gun, prosecutors said. High-definition surveillance video at the restaurant shows him returning in the same car, wearing the same clothing and lifting his T-shirt to partially cover his face, prosecutors said.
Freeman went up to the service window, reached inside with a handgun and fired three times, striking Gonzalez, prosecutors said.
Authorities responded to the restaurant in the 3800 block of West Harrison Street around 3:30 a.m. and took Gonzalez, 30, to Mount Sinai Hospital where he died.
Surveillance video shows Freeman driving away down the alley with his lights off, prosecutors said. Police used their own surveillance cameras and automatic license plate readers to identify the car, which came back registered to Freeman.
The day after the murder, Freeman messaged a friend of 20 years who’s an Illinois State Police trooper, prosecutors said. Freeman, 47, allegedly said they had to talk in-person but the meeting never happened.
The trooper was later interviewed by Chicago police, who showed him videos related to the murder. The trooper allegedly identified Freeman in those videos.
Freeman turned himself into police on Tuesday. He lives in Bellwood with his wife and 16-year-old child, his attorney said in court. He works as a machine operator.
Judge Charles Beach ordered Freeman held without bail on a count of murder.
Last March, two Chicago police officers were shot at the same restaurant when a gunman accidentally dropped his weapon in front of them, picked it up and started firing. One of the officers was grazed in the face and the other wounded in the leg, police said.