Chicago hospital shooting: Gun in VA hospital incident came from Indiana gun store heist

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The accused gunman in a shooting at a Veteran's Affairs hospital on the West Side and his brand new Ruger rifle both traveled from about 200 miles away, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

Although Bernard Harvey, Jr., had a Chicago past and a two-decade felony record in Cook County, he was currently living in Indianapolis, according to federal investigators.

Why Harvey was roaming the near West Side of Chicago on Monday and ended up walking into the Jesse Brown VA Hospital is not known. What authorities do know is that the 9mm, 17-shot autoload rifle he was allegedly carrying had been stolen from a federally-licensed gun shop south of Indianapolis.

Agents from the FBI, ATF and VA police were working Tuesday evening to backtrack how a gun from a lightning-quick raid by burglars on an Indiana gun store would get into the hands of a multiple felon with a psychiatric history.

The carbine was among 31 guns stolen from Element Armaments in New Whiteland, Indiana, during a brazen overnight assault on the store July 27. The early Saturday operation was conducted by five burglars, according to police.

The thieves smashed display cases and stole 13 long guns-including a Ruger rifle, 20 handguns and two silencers in a matter of minutes.

New Whiteland's police chief told the I-Team on Tuesday that authorities have arrested three of the alleged gun burglars, all teenagers, in the last two weeks. There may also have been a getaway car driver.

It is not known whether Harvey had a hand in the thefts or obtained the rifle later.

Harvey does have a Cook County felony record: gun and drug violations going back to 1998. Several convictions involved prison time and psychiatric care.

For all of those reasons, he was not legally entitled to be carrying a rifle Monday afternoon at the Brown VA Medical Center or anywhere else.

While authorities have the gun used Monday off the streets, most of the other firearms from the Indiana heist on July 27 are still out there.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.