A man is being held on a $1 million bond after a 7-year-old girl was shot when people in two cars exchanged gunfire in Waukegan Monday evening, police and prosecutors said.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Emma Smoler said officers responded to the area of Washington Street and West Street for a call of shots fired.
At the same time, which was around 9 p.m. Monday, Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan reported that they received a gunshot victim in their emergency room.
The victim, a 7-year-old, had been shot and arrived at the hospital in a car, Smoler said in court Tuesday.
The driver of that vehicle, Mark A. Ramirez, 25, of Waukegan, was taken into custody.
Ramirez told officers that he shot at another car seven times after they fired shots at his car, Smoler said.
Officers located a 9mm handgun and Ramirez admitted he used that gun in the shootout.
Ramirez is a convicted felon and does not have a valid Firearm Owners Identification card or concealed carry license, Smoler said.
Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Joe Florip said Ramirez was driving a white Chevrolet SUV eastbound on Washington Street from Butrick Street.
The Chevrolet had four passengers — a 24-year-old Waukegan woman, the 7-year-old victim and two other juveniles.
The Chevrolet encountered an older model light-colored sedan while driving in the area, Florip said.
At some point, the occupants in both vehicles fired shots at each other. Numerous shell casings were recovered on Washington Street.
Florip said that the 7-year-old girl’s condition has been stabilized and she is expected to survive.
The child was not believed to be the intended target, Florip said, adding that the shooting was not believed to be a random act.
The sedan was occupied by multiple people but no other suspect information was available. The sedan has not been located.
Police investigators are continuing to work on the case, Florip said.
Ramirez was charged with one count of reckless discharge of a firearm, two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and one count of felon in possession of a firearm.
Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered Ramirez held on a $1 million bond, meaning he would need to post $100,000 cash in order to be released.
Potkonjak noted that Ramirez was convicted of possessing a handgun as a gang member in a 2016 Lake County case and sentenced to four years in prison.
After being released from prison in that case, he was arrested again in Lake County for possessing a firearm in 2018 and sentenced to five years in prison, Potkonjak said.
Ramirez remains held in the Lake County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on November 14.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Waukegan Police Department’s tip line at 847-360-9001.