Chicago firefighter charged in apparent road rage shooting in Andersonville released with monitor

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
CFD firefighter charged with shooting man released with monitor
CFD firefighter Omotayo Kassim appeared in court Wednesday. He was charged for an apparent Chicago road rage shooting incident on Foster Avenue.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago firefighter was in court Wednesday after he was charged with shooting a man in the face in an apparent road rage incident in Andersonville.

Chicago police said Omotayo Kassim, 34, shot a man in the face on New Year's Eve. Sources say Kassim is a CFD firefighter.

Kassim was released on electronic monitoring after Wednesday's hearing.

The 35-year-old victim was in a Jeep in the 1600-block of West Foster Avenue at about 7:55 p.m. Sunday when police said he tried to make a U-turn near Paulina Street. That's when the firefighter allegedly got out of a vehicle and fired shots at him.

"The victim had one hand on the steering wheel the other hand on the gear shift as the defendant approached," said Assistant State's Attorney Anne McCord. "Defendant told the victim to stop moving or he would shoot him. Within a second of that statement the defendant shot the victim in the jaw."

The victim was transported to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition after being shot in the face, police said. A weapon was recovered from the scene.

Kassim has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery, among other charges, Chicago police said on Tuesday.

The shooting was the culmination of a ten minute chase that began after both Kassim and the victim ran their respective stop signs at a four-way intersection, prosecutors said.

Surveillance video from the area, as well as dash cam video from Kassim's white Chevy Tahoe, captured much of what happened. While Kassim's attorney did not dispute that his client opened fire on the driver of the Jeep, he insisted the first responder's actions stemmed from a desire to protect the community from who he says was a drunk, erratic driver.

"We live in a society where we have taken rights away from law abiding citizens and we continue to punish them and we mistake or confuse the term victim and the term defendant," defense attorney David McDermott said.

The judge's ruling Wednesday was certainly unexpected. One moment, the judge called Kassim a danger to the community, and the next, he decided to release him on electronic monitoring.

That decision did not sit well with the family of the man who was shot and is still fighting for his life. The man's father, Mike Guiragossian, is in pain, knowing the man accused of shooting his son in the face will soon be released from jail at least for now.

"That was injustice what happened here, injustice," Guiragossian said. "A criminal who shot a kid, he chased him, shot him in the neck and he walks? For what? Why? How?"

While he is being released on electronic monitoring, the judge said Kassim's movements will be highly restricted.

A spokesperson for the Chicago Fire Department told ABC7 Kassim has been placed on leave with pay and will remain that way until the outcome of his trial.

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