Accused Ped Mall shooter faced earlier murder charge

An Illinois jury acquitted Lamar Wilson in that killing

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IOWA CITY — Nearly seven months before he was accused of shooting and injuring three people in a chaotic scene early Sunday on the downtown Pedestrian Mall, an Iowa City man was on trial for a murder near Chicago.

A Cook County, Ill, jury on Feb. 2 acquitted Lamar Wilson, 23, of that killing. He was released from the Cook County Jail the next day.

Early Sunday, as hundreds of young people were streaming outside as the bars were closing, Wilson, police said, opened fire on three rivals on the Ped Mall.

Wilson made his initial appearance in court Monday morning via a video link from the Johnson County Jail. Associate District Judge Jason Burns set his bail at $750,000 cash — or $150,000 for each of the three attempted murder counts and $100,000 for each of the three intimidation with a dangerous weapon counts he faces.

Wilson began the year awaiting trial in Cook County for the 2013 murder of a 19-year-old Homewood, Ill., man.

Wilson has been arrested in Linn County just over four years ago — in June 2013 — in connection with the death of Henry Kormoi in Homeland. Kormoi was shot in the head and killed June 18, 2013, outside his in home in the suburb south of Chicago.

Cook County officials said Wilson was booked in jail there on June 28, 2013, and remained in custody until Feb. 3.

A day earlier, a jury found him not guilty in the killing of Kormoi, according to Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State Attorney’s Office.

It is not clear when Wilson returned to the Corridor, though he was cited June 13 for speeding in Marion, according to court records.

Wilson was captured in Iowa City early Sunday after an ongoing feud between two groups — one predominantly from Iowa City, the other largely from Cedar Rapids — escalated to violence, authorities said.

Police patrolling the Ped Mall responded about 1:29 a.m. to shots being fired near College and Dubuque streets.

Iowa City Police Sgt. Scott Gaarde said Monday the events leading up to the shooting are part of an investigation.

“We’re still trying to determine what triggered this incident,” he said. Gaarde said he could not comment on the feud between the two groups since that is part of the investigation.

“We’re obviously trying to make sure the incident is being properly addressed,” he said, adding that police are “putting measures in place to prevent escalation.”

Criminal complaints state Wilson fired several rounds at several people at close range. The shooting occurred near the walkway between the Sheraton Hotel and Martini’s bar. One shooting victim was found on the Ped Mall side of the walkway, two others were found in or near the Dubuque Street parking ramp. One victim was in critical condition Sunday; the other two were described as stable.

Police said they found two firearms on Wilson when he was captured a short distance from the shooting scene.

He had a valid permit to carry a gun, Gaarde said. But because gun permits no longer are public record in Iowa under a new state law, it is not possible for the public to find when and where he got his permit.

Wilson did not speak during his initial appearance Monday except to ask at the end why an attorney was not present for the proceedings. Burns said he had appointed the public defender’s office for Wilson and an attorney would be present for all future court appearances.

Wilson’s mother and several others were at the initial appearance. Wilson’s mother declined to comment afterward.

Also arrested Sunday morning was Donte R. Taylor, 21, of Cedar Rapids. Taylor was taken into custody in the Sheraton Hotel parking ramp after he tried to run from officers after the shooting. Police said they found a 9 mm handgun in his possession.

Taylor — who police say showed signs of intoxication — admitted being present during the shooting, police said. He also told officers he stole the gun two months ago.

Taylor faces counts of trafficking in stolen weapons, possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying weapons, interference with official acts and public intoxication. According to records, his bond was set at $76,000.

Attempted murder is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Intimidation with a dangerous weapon is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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