Back of the Yards residents confront police after ATF agent shooting; suspect denied bond

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Back of the Yards residents went face-to-face with their alderman and police Thursday night nearly two weeks after an ATF agent was ambushed and shot. (WLS)

Back of the Yards residents went face-to-face with their alderman and police Thursday night nearly two weeks after an ATF agent was ambushed and shot. Residents of the neighborhood are tired of living in fear and demanded more protection.

There was frustration and tears at the meeting.

"I don't know, I shouldn't be scared like this. It's not fair," one resident said through tears.

Neighbors, 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez and police all came face-to-face.

"We don't have any protection in this neighborhood," another resident said.

"No family should have to live in fear in their own neighborhood," Lopez said.

The man accused of shooting the ATF agent was denied bond in a court appearance earlier Thursday.

Ernesto Godinez, 28, appeared in federal court for a bond hearing. The judge ordered him held without bond after prosecutors cited his violent criminal record, and called him a danger to the community. The judge agreed that he should be detained pending trial.

Prosecutors said Godinez and his brother are leaders of a street gang that has terrorized Back of the Yards for half a century. ATF agents were doing undercover work in the neighborhood the night of the shooting.

In arresting Godinez, heavily-armed federal agents and Chicago police officers executed federal warrants. Some viewed their actions as heavy-handed.

"I seen my nephew who's seven years old running from the house with his hands up in the air screaming, 'Please don't kill me! I'm seven years old! I want to live!' What is that?" one resident asked.

"You's guys walk around with weapons. You's guys got everything you need to go and get that person, why you gotta do it like that?" another resident wanted to know.

But there was also a call for neighbors to step up as well.

"Where's your outrage for the gang members? The ones who are walking around with AK-47s," Ald. Lopez said.

"We need, we flat out need, the community's cooperation, which most are willing to do, even though some of you are frightening," said Chicago Police Captain Don Jerome.

While emotions ran high at the meeting, everyone did agree that more meetings and more dialogue might help improve relations between police and the community going forward.

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The man accused of shooting an ATF agent in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood was denied bond in a court appearance Thursday.



In court Godinez's attorney admitted his client has a criminal history, but said there is no evidence to link him to the shooting. He said he is a father who has mellowed with age.

Investigators said they have Godinez on video in the alley where shots came from at about the same time as the shooting.

"There is no evidence that Godinez fired that weapon," his attorney Lawrence Hyman said.

Godinez was indicted Thursday on the charge of forcible assault on a law enforcement agent. His arraignment hearing will be next week and his attorney said he will plead not guilty. Police insist they have the right man in custody.
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