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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Man Charged In Deadly Austin Shootout That Led To Public Fights Between Mayor, State’s Attorney Last Year

Thomas Dean is the first person charged in an Oct. 1 shootout. Police said two groups of people shot at each other in the middle of an Austin block, killing one person and wounding two.

Police Supt. David Brown, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Mayor Lori Lightfoot speak at a CPD press conference in January.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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AUSTIN — A man has been charged in a West Side shootout in October, the first criminal charges brought in the case that led to bitter public battles among local leaders.

Thomas Dean, 20, faces three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said at a news conference Thursday alongside Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Supt. David Brown.

The shooting happened Oct. 1 in the 1200 block of North Mason Avenue, police said. Officers there saw four people get out of two cars and shoot into a home on the block; people inside the home then shot back, hitting one man, police said. The other gunmen took off in their cars, police said.

A police camera recorded the shooting.

Devlin Addison, 32, of Berwyn, was pronounced dead at a hospital. Two people from inside the home were also shot and were hospitalized, police said.

Brown said Thursday that Dean was among the people wounded and dropped off at a local hospital, though officials did not clarify whether he was part of the group in the cars or inside the home. Brown and Foxx declined to say if he was one of the people seen on surveillance video firing shots.

Foxx said Dean wielded a machine gun during the shooting, and he could get six to 30 years in prison on each weapons charge if convicted.

Police working with the Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force arrested Dean in the 2800 block of West Monroe Street, Brown said. Police found multiple guns used in the shootout, and one was linked to Dean through DNA, Brown said.

Dean is scheduled to appear in bond court Friday.

“I can only imagine the trauma in the hearts and minds of the residents up and down the block that day as they took cover in their own homes,” Brown said. “There was no rhyme or reason for a gunfight in broad daylight, and every resident deserves better. Brazen, reckless and lawless acts of violence like these will not go unchecked and offenders will not be let off the hook.”

Lightfoot and Foxx publicly sparred in the wake of the shootout, intensifying a months-long battle between the two as gun violence throughout the city surged to levels not seen in decades.

One of the people who had been in a car and two people from the home were arrested after the shooting, police said. But Foxx’s office did not bring charges at the time, saying the evidence was not strong enough.

Lightfoot and several alderman sent Foxx a letter asking her to get personally involved and reconsider charges in the shooting.

“If [offenders] do not feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we’re going to see a level of brazenness that will send this city into chaos,” Lightfoot said at news conference at the time.

Foxx sent out her own statement saying Lightfoot, herself a former prosecutor, knows officials are “obligated not to try cases in the media.” Foxx then held a rare news conference of her own to blast the mayor for lying about the circumstances of the case, and pointed out police leaders had agreed about not yet bringing charges.

Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told alderpeople during a budget hearing at the time the evidence was “convoluted” because the police camera didn’t clearly show who was firing and the people arrested did not cooperate with investigators.

Asked what allowed authorities to move forward with the case, Foxx on Thursday said investigators found additional forensic and circumstantial evidence to strengthen the case.

“This is how it’s supposed to work,” Foxx said. “Sometimes it takes time. We understand that what we saw was horrific and people want answers and accountability. What we want is a conviction.” 

Foxx said officials anticipate more charges will be announced against other people involved and authorities recently were approved to carry out a search warrant related to the case.

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