Chicago woman charged in series of bat attacks on NW Side: police
CHICAGO - A Chicago woman was charged in a series of attacks where she allegedly used a baseball bat to beat women on the Northwest Side.
Denise Solozano, 26, was arrested on Wednesday in connection to three attacks on Tuesday in Albany Park and two batteries on Sunday in Irving Park.
Police say Solozano went after two women, ages 27 and 31, in the 4500 block of North Mozart Street around 11:27 a.m.
She was driving a white sedan, got out, walked up to the two women and struck them with a bat. She got back in her car and drove away, police said.
Denise Solozano (Chicago Police)
Minutes later, she beat a 34-year-old woman with the baseball bat in the 3000 block of West Cullom Avenue.
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Solozano is also accused of attacking a 19-year-old woman in the 4000 block of West Lawrence Avenue on May 7. She allegedly beat up a 33-year-old woman in the 4200 block of West Richmond Street on the same day, according to police.
She was charged with three felony counts of aggravated battery in a public place, four felony counts of aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon and one felony count of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.
Solozano was scheduled to appear in bond court on Thursday.
Family says woman charged in bat attacks struggles with mental illness
The family of a woman charged with a series of attacks on other women on the Northwest Side, sometimes using a bat, said Thursday that he has struggled with mental illness.
Denise Solorzano, 26, faces three counts of aggravated battery in a public place, four counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and one count of aggravated assault with a vehicle.
Most of the victims, seemingly picked at random as Solorzano drove around in a white Subaru sedan, suffered bruises and cuts when they were pushed to the ground or struck with a short metal bat, according to prosecutors.
But one woman who was attacked on Sunday told authorities she hit her head when Solorzano pulled her to the ground by her hair, and she briefly lost "her vision … and other senses."
Another woman had some of her hair "pulled out" when Solorzano allegedly grabbed her.
Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered Solorzano held on $800,000 bail during a hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, meaning she needs to post $80,000 to be released. That’s far beyond the $100 an assistant public defender said her family could pay.
Ahmad said she believed Solorzano "posed a serious danger" to women and children in the community, based on the prosecutor’s description of the attacks.
Solorzano’s mother said through tears after the hearing that her daughter was diagnosed with schizophrenia several years ago and has struggled to receive medication to treat her condition and take it consistently.
When she would take her daughter to a hospital for treatment, "they just kept releasing her," Solorzano’s mother said.
Solorzano’s arrest report indicated she told Chicago police she has also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which prosecutors said her family had confirmed.
The assistant public defender said Solorzano lives with her mother and had attended some college classes, but was not currently employed due to "some significant mental health issues she’s dealing with at this time."
About 3 p.m. Sunday, Solozano was driving in the 4200 block of North Richmond Street when she got out and hit a 33-year-old woman, police said.
Forty-five minutes later, she got out of her car and battered two women who were near the sidewalk in the 4000 block of West Lawrence Avenue, according to the police, who said the victims, 19 and 31, declined medical attention.
Just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said Solorzano got out of a white sedan in the 4500 block of North Mozart Street, walked up to two women and struck them with a bat. Ten minutes later, she allegedly chased a 45-year-old woman and her young daughter in the 4100 block of North Campbell Avenue and hit the woman with a bat.
Around noon Tuesday, in the 3000 block of West Belle Plaine Avenue, Solorzano struck two other women with a bat, according to the police, before driving two blocks to the 3000 block of West Cullom Avenue and striking a fifth woman.
During one incident, Solarzano was also accused of preventing one of the victims from crossing a street by moving her car in their direction about six times, prosecutors said.
At times when bystanders intervened or when Solorzano heard sirens, she would get back in her car and leave.
Five of the eight victims in the attacks identified her in photo arrays, and several told police they saw a sticker in the shape of a crown on the bumper of her car, prosecutors said.
When investigators tracked Solorzano to her parents’ home on Wednesday, they found the car outside with a matching sticker, prosecutors said. However, when the family turned the car over to authorities later, the sticker was allegedly missing.
In her decision on bail, Ahmad said it appeared someone "attempted to alter the evidence."
A short metal bat was recovered from inside the car, prosecutors said.
Solorzano was scheduled to next appear in court on Wednesday in Skokie.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.