Chicago man charged after ditching gun in bushes, fleeing police

David Fishman, Assistant Summer Editor

Evanston police charged a Chicago man on Friday with being an armed habitual offender after arresting him Wednesday in connection with allegedly ditching a gun in some bushes as he ran from officers.

The officers, on a “directed deployment patrol” in the 300 block of Howard Street, first attempted to interview Valgas Etheard, 22, at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when they observed the man adjusting an object in his waistband, Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan said.

“The whole time he kept reaching back and grabbing something in his waistband,” Dugan said. “When people are armed and they don’t have a holster, you have to constantly adjust and hold on to the gun.”

When the officers approached, Dugan said Etheard fled northbound on a bicycle before he fell off in the 7600 block of Marshfield Avenue and continued on foot. As he fled, Dugan said he ducked down near a bush, “made a throwing motion with his hands” and changed direction toward an officer who deployed a Taser.

Police later recovered a Lorcin .25 caliber handgun from the bush area.

In February 2015, Evanston police stopped Etheard for minor traffic violations and recovered a loaded .357-caliber revolver. He was charged then with resisting a peace officer, aggravated unlawful use of weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana.

After Wednesday’s incident, Dugan said police not only charged Etheard with being an armed habitual offender — someone who has been convicted of two or more weapons-related crimes — but also with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, possession of firearm/ammunition without firearm owner’s ID card and obstructing a peace officer.

Dugan said officers had been assigned to the area at the time because of recent “gang activities,” but that he didn’t know if Etheard was an active member of any gang.

“Coming up on a holiday weekend, it’s good to lock a person up that’s involved with unlawfully carrying a handgun on the street,” Dugan said. “It was good, proactive police work on the tactical officers’ part.”

Email: [email protected]Twitter: @davidpkfishman