CPS Safe Passage route murder suspect Lamont Grant charged in shooting death of Ralph McNeal

August 14, 2013 3:18:14 PM PDT
A 34-year-old Chicago man who turned himself in to police has been charged in a deadly weekend shooting along a CPS Safe Passage route. On Tuesday night, Lamont Grant confessed to South Side Pastor Corey Brooks that he was the gunman and wanted to turn himself in. Less than 24 hours after turning himself in to Pastor Corey Brooks, 34-year-old Lamont Grant was in bond court Wednesday, charged with shooting two men Saturday, and killing one. "I was contacted by his family around 5pm. They asked if I would help him turn himself in and I said absolutely, yes," said Pastor Corey Brooks, New Beginnings Church.

Early Wednesday, Brooks tweeted a photo of himself praying with Grant, along with the message, "Tonight a young man who shot two people and killed one allowed me to turn him into the police."

Brooks says Grant claims to be schizophrenic and bipolar and that he could not find his medication over the weekend. Brooks says Lamont was distraught over his actions, blaming mental illness for what he did.

"According to him he hadn't been taking his meds. He has a mental illness. We really tried to work through what forgiveness was about, what repentance was about. We prayed, we talked," said Pastor Brooks.

No mention of this alleged mental illness was made in court on Wednesday. Prosecutors said Grant knowingly went in search of his ex-wife's boyfriend, drove to the Dearborn Gardens apartment complex, at 29th and State Street, and then shot at him and the others who were with him. The boyfriend was wounded. But 54-year old Ralph McNeal, was shot in the back and killed. McNeal's sister rejects the mental illness claim.

"I'm glad he turned himself in but all this schizophrenic and bipolar stuff. He wasn't that crazy to get a gun and go down there. He knew he was looking for. He shot the person he wanted and he killed my brother," said Meredetise Wilson, victim's sister.

To Grant, she had just this to say.

"I don't hate nobody. I'm hurt. I'm glad justice is served. But that's still not going to bring my brother back," said Wilson.

The victim, Ralph McNeal, 54, was killed Saturday evening in the South Side Dearborn Homes neighborhood. It happened in the 2900-block of South State Street, which CPS designated as a safe route for students to walk to and from school.

McNeal was sitting with friends when someone started shooting. He was shot in the back and died at Stroger hospital. Ralph McNeal worked as a custodian for Amtrak, according to his family. A 26-year-old man also was shot but survived.

"I want to make sure they put him away. My brother's gone for life. He's going to be gone for life," said Wilson.

If convicted, Lamont Grant will not be eligible for parole because he already has two previous felony convictions dating back to the 1990s. As for the actual target of the shooting, he is still hospitalized in serious condition.

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