COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A repeat felon shot a member of the U.S. Air Force two weeks before killing a 51-year-old cabdriver in Garfield Park, prosecutors said.
Joseph Brown, 25, appeared in bond court Friday on charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder after witnesses and ballistics linked him to both crimes.
Brown has been held in Cook County Jail since Nov. 10, when Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas set bail in a pending gun case at $100,000.
In that case, Brown is charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and being an armed, habitual criminal. He was on parole for a 2013 heroin conviction and has prior convictions for drugs and possession of a stolen motor vehicle, records show.
While free on parole last fall, Brown shot an unarmed 21-year-old man who was jogging in the 200 block of South Central Avenue about 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Santini said in court Friday.
The victim, who was a member of the U.S. Air Force, was shot in his shin, knee cap and upper thigh, prosecutors said. As a result of the injuries, he was unable to continue his military career and was honorably discharged.
According to Santini, the victim had cut through an alley hoping to avoid Brown, who was standing outside with several other people. But Brown and an accomplice followed the man and asked him about gang affiliations. When the victim denied having gang ties, prosecutors said, Brown and the accomplice shot him.
Sixteen 9 mm shell casings from two guns were found on the scene.
Two weeks later, on Nov. 2 — while he was still free on parole — Brown killed 51-year-old cabdriver Gregory Wong during a robbery in the 3000 block of West Fifth Avenue about 7:20 p.m., Santini said.
According to prosecutors, Brown approached Wong's car window, pointed a gun at him and ordered him out of his taxi. Wong stepped outside with his hands raised, Santini said, and Brown pistol-whipped him before rummaging through his pockets and taking money.
Wong screamed loudly during the attack, witnesses said, and Brown told him to be quiet. When he continued to yell, according to prosecutors, Brown fatally shot Wong in his head at close range.
Police found Wong dead on the street next to his cab — clutching an empty money clip in one hand and a set of keys in the other, Santini said.
Brown was captured on the cab's surveillance camera. He can be heard on tape ordering Wong to lower his window by saying, "I will shoot this b----. Let it the f-- down," Santini said. Wong also is heard screaming, according to prosecutors. After a lone gun shot rings out, the screaming stops.
Police recovered one 9 mm shell casing that matched half of the bullets used to shoot the 21-year-old Air Force member on Oct. 19, according to state investigators who recently processed the casings.
A week after Wong was killed, on Nov. 9, Brown was arrested and charged in an unrelated gun case. That case is pending at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave.
On Friday, Judge Sophia Atcherson denied Brown bail in both new cases: the attempted first-degree murder case from Oct. 19 and the first-degree murder case from Nov. 2. Witnesses identified Brown as the gunman in both crimes.
Brown lived in the 4700 block of South Indiana Avenue.