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Man Who Surrendered to Rooftop Pastor Was Gunning for Wife, Prosecutors Say

By  Quinn Ford and Emily Morris | August 14, 2013 4:04pm 

 Lamont Grant went to pastor Corey Brooks before turning himself in to police, according to Brooks. A Cook County Judge ordered Grant held on no bail Wednesday.
Lamont Grant
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COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A man accused of shooting another man dead along a designated "Safe Passage" school route was trying to kill his estranged wife and her new boyfriend, prosecutors alleged Wednesday.

Lamont Grant, 34, was charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in Saturday's shooting.

He turned himself in to police after first meeting with South Side pastor Corey Brooks, known as the "Rooftop Pastor" for a fundraising drive he conducted from a South Side rooftop.

The shooting left 54-year-old Ralph Mcneal dead and another man, who prosecutors said was dating Grant's wife, injured.

A day before the shooting, Chicago Public Schools had designated the block to be part of a Safe Passage route to escort kids to Drake Elementary School.

About 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Mcneal and the man were talking with Grant's wife and others on the sidewalk in the 2900 block of South State Street when Grant got out of a car and opened fire on the group, said Assistant State's Attorney Amanda Pillsbury.

Grant then allegedly walked up to a man who was dating his wife, pointed his gun at him and fired, Pillsbury said. That man survived the shooting and is now listed in critical condition at Stroger Hospital.

Mcneal, who family and friends called "Cubby," was shot in his right arm and back. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, authorities said.

The wounded man, despite being shot in both biceps and the lower leg, was able to remember Grant's license plate number and relay the information to police. Pillsbury said a number of witnesses on the scene also identified Grant, who lives on the block, as the shooter.

But police did not have to find Grant. He turned himself in overnight Tuesday.

Grant's family members contacted Brooks Tuesday night and told him Grant wanted to surrender.

"He wanted make sure he turned himself in, in a faith way," Brooks said Wednesday.

Brooks, who said he didn't know Grant until Tuesday night, posted a photo of the two of them on Twitter along with a tweet that said, "Turning a brother into the police for shooting and killing two people we just prayed I gave him the plan of salvation he accepted."

Grant and Brooks first met at a "neutral" place, according to Brooks. "He was real distraught about the situation," Brooks said.

"We talked about forgiveness. We talked about repentance. We talked about making mistakes" as well as "dealing with consequences," Brooks said.

In court Wednesday, a public defender described Grant as the main provider for his five children. Grant's teary-eyed grandmother, Cynthia Adams, told reporters outside the courtroom that her grandson was sorry for what happened.

Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Grant held without bail.

Grant has two felony convictions in 1998 for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon as well as a past drug conviction, Pillsbury said.