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Steger man charged in Park Forest murder

Michael Reed

Michael Reed

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Updated: September 1, 2012 6:15AM



None of the men involved in a fatal shootout during a would-be marijuana buy earlier this month in Park Forest had marijuana or the money to buy it, according to court records.

A Steger man has been charged with first-degree murder in the incident, which had residents on edge after the shooting victim died on a village street.

Darren Easterling, 25, was shot to death during the July 22 incident in the 300 block of Herndon Street, court records show. Easterling, whose address was listed as 6350 S. Sangamon St. in Chicago but who some residents said lived in Park Forest, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Michael Reed, 21, of 321 W. 35th St. in Steger, was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, according to court records. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Darron Bowden set his bail at $3 million. Reed is next due in court Aug. 15 in Markham.

Jamaal Carter, 24, of 432 W. 15th Place in Chicago Heights, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in the incident. His bail was set at $500,000.

The shooting occurred after Easterling and Carter arranged to buy marijuana from Reed at about 1:50 p.m. July 22, according to court records.

Easterling was a felon who in the past two years had multiple convictions on drug and weapons charges, according to officials and court records.

A woman was driving Easterling and Carter in a car and they stopped outside a house in the 300 block of Herndon Street, where they met Reed, according to court records.

Reed got into the car, and while he was talking to Carter, he pulled out a gun and started shooting, hitting Carter in the leg and Easterling in the back and chest, according to court records. Carter and Easterling returned fire, hitting Reed three times, according to records.

Easterling left the car and died near the street, and a .22-caliber gun was found under his body, court records show. Reed fled the car after the shootout.

Reed ran away and was picked up minutes later by two acquaintances, who drove him to a hospital, court records show. On the way to the hospital, Reed saw a person he knew and gave him his 9 mm handgun and told him to get rid of it, according to court records. Police haven’t found the gun, according to court records.

The woman driving the car with Carter sped away, and the Olympia Fields Police Department stopped her for a traffic violation, court records show.

Police saw Carter was shot and they found a .38-caliber handgun in the car, according to court records. Carter claimed the gun was his and that he fired it at Reed, according to records.

According to court records, Carter, Reed and Easterling had no money or marijuana in their possession.



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