James Sutton

A 31-year-old man free on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial for allegedly shooting another man inside North Riverside Park Mall in September 2020 was back in front of a judge last month after being charged with another weapons offense.

James Sutton was charged by Chicago police with being a felon in possession of a firearm after arresting him during a traffic stop on March 9, according to CWB Chicago, a news website that covers crime in the city.

Sutton reportedly was pulled over in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago for running a stop sign. When asked if there were any guns in the car, Sutton allegedly admitted there was a pistol in his jacket pocket, according to CWB Chicago, which added Sutton’s attorney said his client had permission to leave his home while on electronic monitoring.

A judge set Sutton’s bond at $150,000 for the Chicago gun charge, and the Cook County Jail’s website indicates Sutton posted bail and is once again on electronic monitoring awaiting an April 6 hearing date at the Branch 44 courthouse in Chicago. He is scheduled for another hearing on the North Riverside incident on April 21 at the Maybrook courthouse.

On Sept. 25, 2020 Sutton reportedly shot a 27-year-old man during an altercation in the mall’s upper-level concourse near the former Sears store. The victim, who was shot once through the thigh, was hospitalized but released from treatment the following day.

North Riverside police at the time said the two men knew each other and that the altercation was connected to an earlier dispute between them. The victim reportedly was not cooperative, at least initially, with police.

Sutton fled the scene with another man in a vehicle that police stopped a short time later at Harlem Avenue and 16th Street in Berwyn. Police also reported finding drugs and $1,700 in cash inside the vehicle.

The Cook County State’s Attorney charged Sutton with aggravated battery with a firearm, an offense that carries a prison sentence of between six and 30 years, if convicted. Sutton was also charged with reckless conduct, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance.

The September 2020 shooting capped a particularly violent year at the mall, which was the scene of looting on May 31 amid the widespread protest and civil unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police a few days earlier.

A 24-year-old man was shot dead outside Olive Garden that day and another man was wounded by gunfire inside the mall on June 26. Both victims were targeted, police said. No one has been arrested in connection with the first two shootings.