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Wheelchair Shooter's Deadly Gym Attack Was Captured on Camera: Prosecutors

By  Alex Nitkin and Erica Demarest | March 4, 2016 7:40am | Updated on March 4, 2016 2:19pm

 Reggie Daniel, 48, has been charged first-degree murder. His bail is $1 million.
Reggie Daniel, 48, has been charged first-degree murder. His bail is $1 million.
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Paul Makris / Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A paraplegic man in a wheelchair entered a River West high-rise fitness center, pulled out a gun and shot a fellow tenant in the head and chest, prosecutors said.

The victim was on a stationary bike when Reggie Daniel, 48, pulled the trigger, according to Assistant State's Attorney Marilyn Salas-Wail. The attack played out in front of several witnesses and was captured on the gym's surveillance camera.

Daniel is charged with first-degree murder. Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. on Friday set bail at $1 million.

Daniel has relied on a wheelchair since 1986 after reportedly being wounded in a shooting. Witnesses told the Tribune Daniel asked the victim — later identified as 45-year-old Darris Joss — to stop flirting with his girlfriend just before the shooting.

According to prosecutors, Daniel turned himself in to police Thursday, about eight hours after the fatal attack.

Daniel and Joss, both of whom lived in Alta at K Station, 555 W. Kinzie St., began arguing about 7 p.m. Wednesday in an eighth-floor common area of the building, Salas-Wail said.

Daniel left the area but returned a short while later with a gun, prosecutors said. That's when he shot Joss twice, once in the head and once in the chest, authorities said. Daniel then fled the scene in his car.

Joss was pronounced dead at 7:48 p.m. of multiple gunshot wounds. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled his death a homicide.

"The guy [in a wheelchair] yelled at him to stop flirting with his girlfriend over and over again," Aaron Snyder, who was inside the gym, told the Tribune. "I thought he was being sarcastic, but he wasn't. They got into a screaming match."

Multiple witnesses later identified Daniel as the shooter, prosecutors said.

After the attack, the building was evacuated, and rifle-toting SWAT officers arrived at the building, according to other witnesses at the scene.

In an email sent to residents, Alta Community Manager Andrea Bosco described the shooting as an "isolated incident" and warned that enhanced security measures would be in place in the immediate aftermath. Guards will be stationed at entrances and instructed to limit building access to residents until the investigation is complete.

Daniel's public defender on Friday said Daniel has two children, is paraplegic and has relied on a wheelchair since 1986. Daniel has "extensive medical needs," his attorney said.

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