Stanley: Dogged police work, ballistics evidence helps turn up second gunman in fatal shooting
By Brian Stanley Life of Brianemail@example.com October 20, 2012 10:22PM
Jeremy M. Travis
Updated: January 15, 2013 4:35PM
“Previously unsuspected second gunman” makes me think of JFK and the grassy knoll, but Joliet police say they’ve found a more recent case that applies.
Around 8 p.m. Aug. 3, 2009, Mark A. Bew, Jr., 19, was standing on the corner of Fifth and Eastern avenues talking with two young women.
Bew had been out of jail for less than a week after threatening witnesses to a shooting he’d been involved in the year before.
On May 21, 2008, Bew, 20-year-old Justin D. Campbell and two other men arrived at a public housing development in the 300 block of South Water Street and began arguing with two brothers who lived there. On Bew’s “orders” Campbell took out a gun and fired at least seven rounds, police said. Beside hitting both targets, one round went into the apartment behind them and struck a 7-year-old boy who was sitting on a couch watching TV.
All three victims survived, and Bew was charged with three counts of aggravated battery for “aiding and abetting” Campbell’s attack.
Police said Bew threatened to harm the boy’s mother and aunt the next spring and was locked up for four months.
Bew had already been arrested for taking part in a “gang brawl” outside a nightclub and for trying to remove shell casings from the crime scene where gang member Nehemiah Ammons was fatally ambushed by four masked assailants, authorities said.
Having already survived one drive-by shooting with a wound in his arm, Bew’s luck ran out as he was talking to the women when a green Chevrolet Lumina drove by and bullets flew.
A then-19-year-old woman suffered a bullet wound in her thigh and a 20-year-old woman was struck in her left forearm, but Bew — who investigators said was the intended target — suffered fatal injuries.
Police Cmdr. Brian Benton said witnesses identified driver Calvin Russell as the shooter, and officers found him hiding out in a Crest Hill apartment two weeks later. Russell, who was on parole for carjacking at the time, was arrested on murder charges. As Assistant Will County State’s Attorney’s Mark Flesewski and Mike Knick were recently reviewing evidence for Russell’s upcoming trial, they made a startling discovery.
“The lab reports showed two different types of shell casings...indicating there was a second gun,” Det. Stephen Diehl said.
“The evidence and witnesses did not indicate a second shooter at the time,” Benton said.
“Word on the street” led Diehl to Jeremy M. Travis, 22, Russell’s friend and fellow Gangster Disciple who’d been questioned during the initial investigation and denied being at the scene.
Diehl said he and Sgt. Darrell Gavin interviewed him at the station last month, and he admitted being in the car and shooting a gun police already had in evidence.
Police said they seized that gun from another person eight days after the Bew slaying in an unrelated incident. Diehl said after he questioned Travis, the state police crime lab ran ballistics tests on the weapon and matched it to the other evidence.
A warrant charging Travis with murder was issued Oct. 11 and carries a $3 million bond. While it hadn’t been served as of Thursday, police aren’t worried about finding him.
Travis is currently serving 12 years at the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Southern Illinois for aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm.