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Chicago firefighter faces attempted murder charge in road rage incident

Chicago Firefighter Omotayo Kassim was granted pretrial release in a detention hearing over a shooting after a vehicle collision

By Caroline Kubzansky, William Lee
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — A Cook County judge on Wednesday granted pretrial release to a Chicago firefighter accused of opening fire on another motorist during an apparent road rage incident in the Andersonville neighborhood on New Year’s Eve.

Omotayo Kassim, 34, faces single counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm, according to authorities. Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford confirmed that Kassim, a resident of the Grand Boulevard neighborhood on the South Side, had been with the department since 2019. Following the charge, Kassim was placed on paid administrative suspension, according to Fire Department officials.

During a detention hearing, prosecutors described a road rage incident in the final hours of 2023 that began with a minor collision when Kassim and a second driver ran stop signs at a four-way stop.

Following a collision in which Kassim’s SUV struck the rear door of the victim’s vehicle, the victim’s car fled the scene, leading to a 10-minute chase partially captured on Kassim’s own dashcam, Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord Rodgers told the court.

During the pursuit, the off-duty firefighter who had a valid firearm owner’s identification card and concealed carry permit, attempted to use “pit” maneuvers — a law enforcement tactic forcing a fleeing vehicle to stop — until the victim’s vehicle spun out in the 1600 block of West Foster Avenue.

After the victim attempted to flee again, McCord said Kassim got out of his vehicle with a weapon drawn and threatened to shoot the victim. Within a second, McCord said that Kassim fired a shot that struck the other driver in the jaw.

The 35-year-old driver was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition, police said. As of Wednesday, the victim remained intubated and critically wounded with a bullet lodged in his spine that doctors were unable to remove, according to prosecutors.

Kassim was arrested at the scene and police recovered a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun from his holster, authorities said.

The victim’s friend, who was a front-seat passenger and one of two eyewitnesses identified Kassim as the shooter, authorities said.

Judge Susana Mendoza denied the prosecutor’s request to hold Kassim, granting him release on electronic home monitoring, according to court records. The judge did order Kassim to turn over his firearm owner’s identification card and any firearms he possesses. She also barred the defendant from speaking with witnesses.

Kassim is expected back in court Monday.

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