Fatal shooting in Hyatt Regency lobby started with argument over woman

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - While Armonte Hooper fired the shots that killed a man in the lobby of a hotel near McCormick Place two weeks ago, James Briscoe was right there, encouraging his friend to “finish off” the victim.

Briscoe, 23, was ordered held on a $1 million bond Friday by Judge Laura Sullivan after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Courtney Taylor, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Hooper, 23, was previously charged with first-degree murder for the shooting at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place at 2233 S. King Dr., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He is being held without bond.

On Jan. 23, Taylor and several friends were attending a party in a suite at the Hyatt, assistant state’s attorney Jamie Santini said in court Friday. About 2:20 a.m., Taylor and friends were leaving when another man approached him in the lobby and accused him him hitting on his girlfriend.

A verbal altercation turned physical, with several men fighting in the lobby, including Hooper and Briscoe, prosecutors said. As hotel security stepped in to break it up, the suspects walked outside.

They returned about a minute later, and Hooper pulled a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at one of Taylor’s friends, Santini said. When someone in the crowd yelled, “Gun,” Taylor and his friends tried to run.

One of Taylor’s friends was struck over the head with a glass tabletop, and Taylor was confronted by Hooper, prosecutors said.

Hooper then began firing shots, and witnesses heard Briscoe shouting, “blow that m—–f—– and finish him,” according to prosecutors.

Hooper then shot Taylor, and when he fell to the ground, Hooper stood above him and shot him five more times, including a close-range shot to the head, Santini said.

The suspects then ran out, but the entire incident was captured on hotel surveillance cameras, and witnesses identified Hooper as the shooter and Briscoe as the man who egged him on, prosecutors said.

Taylor, of the 6800 block of South Paulina Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. An autopsy found he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Briscoe, who lives in the 8200 block of South Carpenter; and Hooper, of the 400 block of West Marquette, are due back in court Feb. 17, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office.

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