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Pre-Trial Release Denied for Cook County Man Allegedly Found in Possession of Loaded Gun at Naperville Recreation Facility

May 11, 2024

Defendant currently facing Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon charges out of Cook County.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Naperville Chief of Police Jason Arres announced today that Judge Brian Jacobs granted the State’s motion to deny pre-trial release for a Cook County man who was allegedly found to be in possession of a loaded gun at a Naperville recreation facility. Gary Howard, 20, (d.o.b. 10/24/2003) of the 6500 block of Deer Lane, Palos Park, appeared at First Appearance Court this morning charged with one count of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon, a Class 4 Felony.

On May 10, 2024, at approximately 9:51 p.m., Naperville police officers on routine foot patrol at TopGolf on Odyssey Court, observed a handgun with an extended magazine in plain view on the rear driver’s side floorboard of a vehicle. While conducting surveillance on the vehicle, it is alleged that officers observed two individuals, a male and a female, return to the vehicle with the female entering the front passenger seat. It is alleged that the male, later identified as Howard, opened the rear driver’s side door, retrieved an item, and then entered the driver’s seat. At this time, Naperville police officers immediately activated their emergency lights and converged on Howard’s vehicle. It is alleged that when officers searched Howard’s vehicle, they found a loaded Glock 23 .40 caliber pistol with an extended magazine that had been moved to the driver’s floorboard from the rear driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle. Howard was taken into custody at that time. Howard is currently facing Aggravated Fleeing and Eluding and Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon charges out of Cook County.            

“With the warm weather fast approaching, my office stands ready to work with the Naperville Police Department and authorities at TopGolf to ensure we do not have a repeat of the rash of individuals bringing a dangerous weapon to a family friendly facility that we saw last year.” Berlin said. “Public safety remains the top priority of my administration. Allegations such as those against Mr. Howard will not be tolerated in DuPage County and will be fully prosecuted. Once again, I thank the Naperville Police Department for their proactive efforts and commitment to public safety. I also thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Michael Pingaj and Andrew Poncer for their work in securing charges against Mr. Howard and for their ongoing efforts in keeping DuPage County safe from violent criminals.”

“Our officers continue to do an excellent job proactively policing our community. We will continue to do this and hold those who violate the law, especially those illegally possessing firearms, accountable,” said Arres. “We continue to be grateful for our partnership with State’s Attorney Bob Berlin and his attorneys for their help with these incidents.”

Howard’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 13, 2024, for arraignment in front of Judge Joseph Bugos.      

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Howard, Gary

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