DOWNTOWN — Investigators trying to figure out the motive in last week’s shooting of a woman on a Downtown street say her alleged shooter, a former Jimmy John’s delivery man, might have been angry at her building for not letting him in.
The alleged shooter, Michael Blackman, was formally charged Monday with five counts of attempted murder. He’s accused of shooting the woman just before noon Wednesday and then shooting a Chicago Police officer who tried to arrest him Saturday morning.
He fled both shootings, but police tracked him to a vacant lot in Englewood Saturday afternoon. Blackman got into a pair of gun battles before he was shot at least four times by police. He’s now hospitalized, unable to attend a bond hearing.
In announcing the charges Monday, Brendan Deenihan, deputy chief of detectives, offered a theory on what may have led to Wednesday’s shooting in the 200 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. The woman was shot in the back but survived.
Deenihan said Blackman was a Jimmy John’s delivery driver who frequently delivered to a building where the woman worked. Blackman would refuse to show his ID to security staff at the building and, because of that, he had troubles delivering food to the spot.
So when the woman walked out of the building on Wednesday to grab lunch, Blackman was riding by on his bike and randomly opened fire, Deenihan said. The two hadn’t had any confrontations before, police said.
Blackman wouldn’t tell officers why he shot at the woman, Deenihan said, and investigators aren’t sure what role, if any, the security issues at the building had in the shooting. Blackman was fired from Jimmy John’s in early May.
“Only he possesses the answer,” Deenihan said.
After that shooting in the Loop, Blackman went home. Investigators used video footage from across Chicago to track his path on a bus and released clips to the public, asking people to help identify the man.
People called in with tips, said First Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio. Officers from the Itasca Police Department also called, saying the man in the video resembled a man they had also been looking for: Blackman.
Investigators went to Blackman’s home on Saturday to arrest him.
During a confrontation, Blackman shot an officer in his leg, starting off a gun battle, police said.
While most people would have fled at that point, Blackman took off only to circle back and shoot at the wounded officer — who was laying on the ground — again, Riccio said. Blackman escaped afterward.
“Blackman showed, really, what a dangerous person he was,” Riccio said.
The officer saved his own life by applying a tourniquet to his leg and was helped by others. He was rushed to the hospital, and, after a second surgery, officers were “very optimistic” about his recovery on Monday, Riccio said.
Officers then searched the area with help from bloodhounds and agents from the FBI and ATF, among others. They used more video to find Blackman had gone into a vacant lot and hadn’t emerged.
That’s where investigators found Blackman on Saturday afternoon near 64th Street and Bell Avenue. Blackman started another gun battle and was shot four times before being taken into custody, police said.
Blackman has been charged with five counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault to a police officer, aggravated battery and unlawful use of a weapon, police said.
Blackman, as a convicted felon, could not legally own the gun he allegedly used in the shootings, police said. Investigators are trying to determine where the gun came from.
The woman shot near the Loop was improving as of Monday, police said. She was “completely caught off guard” by the shooting, Riccio said, and hasn’t been able to provide much information because she didn’t see the gunman.
Blackman is also being investigated for a June 8 shooting at Surf Street and Broadway in Lakeview. A gunman on bicycle shot a woman in that case.
Police are also looking at other unsolved shootings. There’s no indication he’s responsible for two murders last year in Rogers Park, officials said.
The killer in those cases, while also wearing all back, walked with a distinctive “duck-like” gait. No evidence or witnesses account back up that Blackman shares that trait, police said.