Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions


  Office phone numbers:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  The first blood bank in the world was established at Cook County Hospital by Dr. Bernard Fantus in 1937.

Inmates injured in jail shooting
Origin of gun is under investigation

Friday, February 03, 2006
Chicago Tribune
by Carlos Sadovi and Mickey Ciokajlo

Tribune staff reporters Jeff Coen and David Heinzmann contributed to this report

Cook County sheriff's officials Thursday were investigating a serious security breach that resulted in a gun being fired in a maximum-security division of County Jail.

Three inmates suffered minor injuries in the shooting, and no guards were threatened with the gun, an older model .32-caliber snub-nosed revolver, sheriff's officials said.

For a county department plagued in recent years by allegations of abuse by guards, frequent inmate stabbings and illegal strip searches, Wednesday's shootings raised to a new level concerns about security in the jail.

"Obviously that constitutes a significant breach ... and that's our No. 1 concern right now," said Bill Cunningham, a spokesman for Sheriff Michael Sheahan.

Cunningham said the sheriff's police are investigating the shooting, while the jail's internal affairs division is investigating how the gun got inside.

Sheriff's officials and an expert on the jail could not recall a firearm ever being discharged inside the facility, which typically houses around 10,000 inmates.

Charles Fasano, of the prison watchdog group John Howard Association, said he could only recall three or four incidents over the last 30 years of a gun getting inside secure portions of the jail.

"It is very rare. Not only at Cook County but most places," Fasano said.

"You never bring a weapon into the jail. ... It's very dangerous. The philosophy is this: If I have a gun and an inmate gets the gun, then you have a problem."

Last week, a Cook County jury convicted jail guard Kenyatta Sanders of attempting to smuggle a .38-caliber revolver into the jail in 2003.

In 1984, six inmates escaped when they overpowered guards using two revolvers that were smuggled into the jail by a paramedic. The paramedic had hidden the guns inside a blood pressure kit.

Investigators looking into Wednesday's shootings will probe whether a guard or another employee smuggled the weapon into the jail, Cunningham said.

"That's something we'll pursue," he said.

Last summer, inmate Randy Rencher walked out of the jail wearing a guard's uniform and went on a multistate bank-robbing spree. After he was caught in Ohio, Rencher claimed that he bribed a jail guard who aided him in his escape.

Cunningham said Thursday that the sheriff's office was still waiting for Rencher to agree to be interviewed about the allegation. He also said the sheriff's office has not turned up evidence that guards helped Rencher.

The shooting could have ramifications in next month's Democratic primary election for sheriff. Sheahan is retiring.

Richard Remus, a former jail official running for the position, said the shootings highlight security problems in the jail.

"It scares the crap out of me that a weapon's getting in the jail," said Remus, noting the unarmed guards carry only handcuffs and radios. "If the gun was in the wrong hands, they could have taken the whole building."

Remus headed a special operations unit that was accused of abusing inmates in a 1999 shakedown. Remus has denied that he harmed inmates, although he invoked the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination when he was called before a grand jury, which later concluded that abuse did occur.

Sylvester Baker Jr., another candidate for sheriff, called it "another instance of public corruption," saying that by all appearances a jail employee likely aided in bringing the weapon into the facility.

Tom Dart, Sheahan's chief of staff and the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate, said the incident underscores the jail's need for more guards.

"We need more people to adequately secure that building," said Dart, noting a federal judge's insistence that the county hire more guards this year.

Mike Quigley, a Cook County commissioner who has been outspoken on jail issues, said, "It's not a question of the right number of jail guards but the right kind of jail guards."

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Sheahan said investigators were trying to determine who fired the weapon. He said they had not ruled out the possibility that one of the injured inmates fired the gun.

"The superficial nature of the injuries [raises] questions about who actually fired the weapon and what their motives were," the statement said.

Injured in the shooting were Gregory Sherman, 27, of Chicago; Terry Martin, 28, of Dolton; and Lorenzo Evans, 27, of Chicago.

Sherman, who was awaiting sentencing for armed robbery and other convictions, suffered a grazed elbow.

Martin, awaiting trial for murder, was shot in the upper calf. Evans, also in on murder charges, was shot in the left thigh. All three men were treated at nearby hospitals and released.

A guard found the three men, who shared a cell, lying on the deck of the second floor outside the cell, sheriff's officials said. The cell's lock had been intentionally jammed open, officials said.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is attempting to trace the origin and ownership of the FIE Titanic revolver.

Recent Headlines

Cook County OKs Palos Park annexation plan
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Chicago Tribune

The next big thing in health insurance may be in Oak Lawn
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Kadner: Palos-Lemont land war going to county board
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Cook County judge orders Horizon Farms closed; future uncertain
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Daily Herald

Police training canceled because of Illinois budget crisis
Monday, September 28, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Injury suit against zoo not barred
Monday, September 28, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Alvarez on new gun policy: 'If we can save one child’s life, we are doing our job'
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Clerk Brown to Hold Amnesty Week, Oct. 5 - Oct. 9, 2015
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Special to

Stroger Hospital slammed for plan to merge pediatric, adult emergency rooms
Friday, September 25, 2015
Chicago Tribune

From the Village: Cook County Board of Review Property Assessment appeals now open
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Wilmette Beacon

Cook County clerk hosts voter registration events Tuesday
Monday, September 21, 2015
Daily Herald

Chicago Zoological Society to Honor Recipients of 2015 Conservation Leadership Awards
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Former Recorder of Deeds clerk indicted on fraud charges
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Evans names new Criminal Division head
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Celebration of 100 Events Marks the Centennial Anniversary
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Special to

Opinion: State's attorney yet to apologize for Koschman case
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Marlen Garcia: Stand firm on sanctuary ordinances
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Counterpoint: Sheriff downplays unsafe working conditions
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

Editorial: Zero tolerance for police and prosecutors who lie
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Chicago Tribune

Editorial: Jail guards risk infuriating every county taxpayer
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.