LOGAN SQUARE — A man furious over traffic tickets stalked Mayor Lori Lightfoot in recent weeks and fired shots in an alley near her Logan Square home, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Joseph Igartua, 37, has been charged with three felony counts of stalking and one felony count of reckless discharge of a firearm in the case. He was ordered held without bail Thursday.
Cook County prosecutors said Igartua drove to Lightfoot’s Logan Square home 15 times Jan. 17-Feb. 14, in some cases returning seconds after leaving. Igartua drives a black Nissan truck detectives were able to identify through a license plate reader, prosecutors said.
In some of the incidents, Igartua tried to deliver a letter and other documents expressing anger over traffic citations he had received, but police stationed at Lightfoot’s home intervened and detained him, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said during a bond court hearing Thursday.
On Saturday, Igartua was carrying the letter and a loaded handgun as he walked up to Lightfoot’s home, Murphy said. Police took the letter and the ammunition, but returned the “broken-down and safe” gun to Igartua, who had a valid Firearm Owners Identification card and conceal carry license, Murphy said.
Igartua returned to Lightfoot’s home Sunday, but he was stopped by officers in a nearby alley, Murphy said. During this encounter, Igartua dropped a packet of papers, including a signed letter to the mayor, traffic tickets issued to him and photos of his truck, Murphy said.
“The letter indicated that he had been at [the mayor’s] home on previous occasions, armed with a firearm, and he accused the Chicago Police Department of taking five rounds from the magazine they had handled previously,” Murphy said.
The following day, Monday, Igartua went back to Lightfoot’s home, driving through the alley, and was met by police again, Murphy said. In this incident, an officer pulled Igartua over for speeding and found a gun, Murphy said.
Igartua was given a warning and asked to stay away from Lightfoot’s home, Murphy said.
The reckless discharge of a firearm charges stem from an incident Wednesday. Officers found Igartua driving in an alley near Lightfoot’s home and then heard five gunshots ring out from the direction of his car, Murphy said.
Later, during another encounter with police, officers found two spent shell casings in the front of Igartua’s car, Murphy said. Upon further investigation, evidence technicians also discovered two 9-millimeter shell casings and a 9-millimeter glock in Igartua’s car, Murphy said.
In denying bail to Igartua, Judge Maryam Ahmad said Igartua is a “real threat” to Lightfoot, who Murphy described as “alarmed and distraught” by the stalking.
“He came back to the [mayor’s] home multiple, multiple, multiple times after being warned to stay away, and came back with a firearm,” Ahmad said.
As part of her ruling, the judge said Igartua is not allowed to have any contact with Lightfoot or go to her home. Igartua was also ordered to give up his FOID card and all of his firearms.
Igartua’s record includes a misdemeanor for possession of marijuana in 2011, Murphy said. The 37-year-old has two children and recently lost his job at a metal fabcrication manufacturer, said his defense attorney, Jeremy Lemmons.
This is not the first time Lightfoot has been the subject of harassment. In 2020, the mayor said she gets threats “every single day.”