COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A photographer who ventured to North Avenue Beach to take pictures of the supermoon early Monday told police he was attacked and robbed of $30,000 in photography equipment.
The 24-year-old tried to fight off his attackers with his tripod, swinging it at them during the predawn stickup at the beach, prosecutors said.
"I made the decision, unless they pulled a gun or pulled a knife, I am not going to give up," said Ting Shen Monday afternoon, adding that he was not about to hand over "$30,000 worth of gear" without a fight.
Shen, a photojournalist, said he was looking for a good angle and the right setting to shoot the much-anticipated supermoon when he lugged his camera equipment to the beach just before sunrise Monday morning.
Shen didn't find the image he'd envisioned. So he packed up his gear and was walking to his car in the parking lot near Castaways bar when he said a man called out to him asking for a light.
The man, who appeared to be drunk, stuck his hand inside Shen's pocket looking for money, Shen said.
"That's when I went into defense mode; I told him to get away from me," Shen said.
The man backed off momentarily saying, "I am just teasing you," but then persisted, Shen said.
The man then joined was joined by three other men, who did not at first appear threatening, Shen said.
Then one of the men threatened to kill Shen and "clumsily" threw a glass bottle at him, he said. The bottle missed.
Shen said he started swinging his tripod at one of the robbers, "aiming at his head."
Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said during a brief bond hearing Monday the photographer was then attacked by three of the four men now charged with armed robbery.
The robbers made off with his two cameras, his tripod and a New York Yankees cap, Scaduto said.
Vincent Jackson, 47, and Quinn Scott, 45, both of Robbins, and Darnel Scott, of the 1300 block of South Wentworth Avenue, were arrested a short time later, at about 5 a.m., on North Lake Shore Drive, authorities said.
Shen, a native of Taiwan, said he moved to Chicago in 2010, and in roughly three years of lugging his camera equipment all over the city, he's never run into trouble before.
Shen got his equipment back, but he said two lenses and a camera were broken.
Three of the alleged robbers were ordered held on $350,000 bail by Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. on Monday. The name of the fourth defendant, who was sent to a hospital, was not immediately released.