LINCOLN SQUARE — A man trying to flee after a shooting ran into a Lincoln Square restaurant full of police officers this week — and it’s shown in newly released video.
The video shows five police officers eating in the otherwise empty Garcia’s Restaurant, 4760 N. Lincoln Ave. A man runs in, dashing through the restaurant and past their table.
The officers leap up and chase after the man. Another clip from a camera outside then shows the suspect leaving the restaurant and running down the sidewalk, as officers chase after him.
Watch the video:
The incident stems from a shooting and crash that happened earlier this week in North Center and Lincoln Square.
Alexandru Mihai, 19, has been charged with attempted murder, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of a controlled substance in connection to the incident. He was ordered held without bond Thursday.
Prosecutors said Mihai was the driver in the incident, while the shooter is still loose.
It played out 1:50 p.m. Tuesday when the victim, a FedEx worker, was driving east in the left lane of Irving Park Road and stopped at a red light near California Avenue. While stopped at the light, he noticed a Porsche SUV in the right lane in front of him, prosecutors said.
Mihai was driving the Porsche SUV and another man was sitting sitting next to him in the passenger seat, prosecutors said. When the light turned green, the victim and Mihai kept driving east on Irving Park. As they approached Rockwell Street, Mihai reportedly changed lanes and got directly in front of the victim.
Mihai “then suddenly dropped speed so that the victim decided to change lanes to get around the defendant,” prosecutors said.
After passing the Porsche SUV, the FedEx worker got back into the left lane and continued east on Irving Park before stopping at a red light in the left turn lane on Western Avenue. When the light changed, the victim continued north and saw in his rearview mirror that Mihai was driving slowly behind him on Western Avenue’s left lane, prosecutors said.
Mihai then sped toward the other driver, which caused the driver to move into Western’s right northbound lane to prevent Mihai from rear ending him, prosecutors said.
“Just before [the victim] reached the intersection of Berteau Avenue, the victim heard a loud bang and instantly felt pain,” prosecutors said. “The victim looked to his left and saw the Porsche in the left lane immediately next to him and observed the front seat passenger pointing a gun in his direction.”
The victim slammed on the brakes and heard three more gunshots before Mihai continued north on Western Avenue at “a high rate of speed” before making a left turn to continue speeding down Hutchinson Street, prosecutors said.
As Mihai and the shooter fled, the victim made a U-turn, pulled over and began calling out for help, prosecutors said.
A woman saw Mihai race down Hutchinson Street, slamming the SUV against the residential street’s speed bumps, and then went over to help the victim, prosecutors said.
She flagged down police and gave them a description of the Porsche SUV with dealer license plates, prosecutors allege.
About 10 minutes later, officers driving east on Wilson Avenue near Ravenswood spotted the SUV and tried to pull the driver over. Mihai didn’t stop, leading to a “brief pursuit” before Mihai crashed into a building on the northeast side of Lincoln Square’s Giddings Plaza, prosecutors said.
Mihai and the alleged shooter ran off, with the shooter running down an alley and Mihai into Garcia’s, prosecutors said.
Photos and videos taken by people in Giddings Plaza and surveillance video from street cameras and businesses were used to identify Mihai as the driver of the SUV, prosecutors allege.
The wounded driver has already been released from a hospital. He told authorities he did not recognize the shooter and had no previous interactions with him or the driver.
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