Suspect charged in shooting at Keg

Scott Gordon

A 19-year-old man turned himself in to Evanston police Tuesday night and was charged with first-degree murder in a shooting at The Keg of Evanston.

Police said they believe Antoine Hill, 19, of the 1700 block of Payne Street, pulled out a handgun and shot Robert Gresham, 22, in the chest just after 2 a.m. Sunday as a Keg employee broke up a fight among the two and one other man.

Gresham, of the 1300 block of McDaniel Avenue, was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Francis Hospital, 355 Ridge Ave.

Investigators have not confirmed a motive, but the two had fought before, said Deputy Chief Joe Bellino of Evanston Police Department. Both men were questioned, but not charged, earlier this month after residents of the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Greenleaf Street told police the two were shooting at each other from their cars, Bellino said.

The shooting at The Keg, 810 Grove St., was “just a culmination of this dispute,” Bellino said. He said police don’t know how the two men knew each other or why they were fighting.

Hill has not admitted to the shooting and was with his attorney when he turned himself in, Bellino said. A bond hearing for Hill is scheduled for Thursday morning at Circuit Court in Skokie. He is being held at EPD’s station at 1454 Elmwood Ave.

The bar had a “full house,” including many Northwestern students celebrating after graduation, at the time of the shooting, Bellino said. Investigators don’t yet know whether the shooter came to the bar looking for Gresham.

Witnesses told police Gresham was shot with a handgun. Police have not yet found the gun, Bellino said.

Half a block west of The Keg, Gresham’s mother, sister and friends set out flowers, candles, stuffed animals, a balloon printed with the words “#1 DAD,” and posters, one of which reads: “Robert Dettell Gresham: Godfather, Brother, Father, Grandson, Uncle, Son, Cousin, Boyfriend.”

Gresham “was a very respectful young man,” said Michael Curry, pastor of First Church of God Christian Life Center, 1524 Simpson St., who said he has known Gresham and his family for several years. “He was part of what we call ‘The Crew'” — a group of young men who attend the church regularly.

The Keg has been closed since the shooting. Evanston Mayor Lorraine H. Morton, who is also Evanston’s liquor commissioner, suspended the Keg’s liquor license for a week beginning the Monday after the shooting. Police do not know if Hill was served drinks at the bar. The Keg was cited in 2003 for serving alcohol to minors, and Keg patrons often are ticketed for underage drinking.

Bellino said The Keg is now closed for renovations. The bar’s owner, Tom Migon, did not return calls for comment.

Morton said the city should raise its penalties for handgun possession, a misdemeanor under Evanston city law. It is punishable now by up to six months in jail and fines between $100 and $500.

Reach Scott Gordon at [email protected].