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Men Threatened To Kill T-Mobile Employees Before Firing At Police: Charges

By  Erica Demarest and Kelly Bauer | July 24, 2017 8:01am | Updated on July 28, 2017 11:27am

 Donzell Grant, 20, and Cortez Harrington, 24, are charged with attempted murder, armed kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated discharge of a gun and vehicular hijacking.
Donzell Grant, 20, and Cortez Harrington, 24, are charged with attempted murder, armed kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated battery, aggravated discharge of a gun and vehicular hijacking.
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Courtesy Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — Armed robbers threatened to kill T-Mobile employees before shooting at two Chicago police officers during a Back of the Yards chase last week, prosecutors said Monday.

A female officer was shot in her leg and survived.

RELATED: Police Officer Shot In Leg Recovering, In "Good Spirits,' Top Cop Says

Donzell Grant, 20, and Cortez Harrington, 24, appeared in bond court Monday on charges of attempted first-degree murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm, kidnapping and carjacking.

Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan denied the men bail, calling them "a real and present threat."

According to prosecutors, Grant and an accomplice (who has not been charged) entered a T-Mobile store at 4309 S. Ashland Ave. about 1:25 p.m. on July 21. Four employees and one customer were on the sales floor, prosecutors said, while a fifth employee ate lunch in the back.

Grant and the accomplice soon pointed guns at the four sales floor employees and forced them into the back of the building, Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Bagby said Monday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave.

The employee who'd been eating lunch and the customer in the front of the store were able to escape and call 911, Bagby said. Grant and his accomplice are accused of tying up the remaining four employees with zip ties and demanding the code to T-Mobile's safe.

That's when Grant and the accomplice threatened to kill staffers, prosecutors said. Once the safe was open, the duo swiped 40 phones worth more than $30,000, court records show.

A Chicago Police Department squad car arrived at the scene just as Grant and the accomplice tried to leave, prosecutors said. The men made a beeline for the shop's back entrance and were soon spotted running west across Ashland Avenue, according to Bagby.

Two police officers chased them. At that point, prosecutors said, Grant and the accomplice pointed their guns toward the officers. At least one of the men opened fire, Bagby said, striking the female officer. Her male partner continued to chase the men into a nearby alley.

That's when Grant and the accomplice met up with Harrington, who was waiting in his black Dodge Charger, prosecutors said. Grant and the accomplice jumped in the car, which sped off before stopping abruptly, according to Bagby.

Grant and the accomplice got out of the car, split up and ran down two different gangways, authorities said. The male police officer continued to chase Grant, who briefly got stuck on a fence when his shorts tore, Bagby said.

Before long, the officer spotted Grant's accomplice behind the wheel of a white van he had stolen seconds earlier, according to prosecutors. Grant tried to get in the van but ultimately hid in a nearby garage that belonged to the van's owner, Bagby noted.

During the chase, Grant's accomplice fired more shots at the male officer, according to police and prosecutors.

Grant was arrested at 1:37 p.m. in the 4300 block of South Marshfield Avenue, court records show. He was identified by several witnesses and later admitted to his involvement in the T-Mobile robbery, prosecutors said. At the time of his arrest, he was wearing a Cubs hat and blue gloves identical to those spotted on T-Mobile security footage.

Harrington was caught two blocks away at 1:54 p.m. after a witness flagged down police and told officers she was nearly run over by a black Dodge Charger, according to an arrest report. Officers said they found a 9 mm gun inside the car.

According to Bagby, surveillance footage captured Harrington buying zip ties and blue gloves at Home Depot earlier that day.

Police recovered multiple .45-caliber shell casings believed to have come from the same gun, authorities said. That gun has not been recovered.

The third man was able to escape in the stolen white van.

Grant, of the 1600 block of West 61st Street, has no prior criminal history. According to his public defender, Grant is married and previously worked for Goodwill and Clorox.

Harrington, of the 300 block of East 69th Street, is on probation for a 2017 domestic battery conviction in Lake County. He's previously convicted of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, robbery and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

His public defender said Harrington works as a dishwasher and is a "significant provider" for three of his children.