Lightfoot, Foxx announce charges tied to deadly gang-related gunfight in Austin

Months after a shocking shootout unfolded on the city’s West Side – sparking outrage from residents and officials, alike – gun charges against one of the men involved were announced Thursday.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, along with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Mayor Lori Lightfoot appeared together to make the announcement.

Thomas Dean, 20, has been charged with three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

"That weapon, having been an automatic weapon – a machine gun," said Foxx.

On Oct. 1, 2021, fear took over the Austin neighborhood, when more than 70 shots rang out during a gang shooting that unfolded in broad daylight. It was all captured on POD cameras.

"I am confident that we will take back our neighborhoods from the criminals, and today is proof positive of our resolve to never give up," said Mayor Lightfoot.


Now, Dean – one of the men who police say unleashed gunfire during the shootout – is behind bars.

"A few months ago this community was shaken and devastated by a brazen shootout in the streets," said Foxx. "If you saw that video – it wasn’t a video game, that’s somebody’s neighborhood, people live there."

Police said forensic evidence recently returned from the state crime lab was key in charging Dean.  

"Firearms were later recovered in one of the vehicles and one was linked to Dean through DNA analysis," said Superintendent David Brown, Chicago Police Department.

In the days following the shootout, five men were arrested but released without charges. At the time, Lightfoot demanded answers from Foxx.

During a press conference on Oct. 4, 2021, Lightfoot said: "She’s got to explain to the public – why, given that evidence, a POD camera right there that captured the entire thing, police officers on the scene, a uniform squad car there – why that isn't enough."

Lightfoot and Foxx presented a united front Thursday when they announced the charges filed against Dean.

"As of that first weekend, we did not have the forensic evidence that we now have today that gives us the confidence to bring charges," said Foxx.

Foxx also said additional charges related to this case are coming – stating that they have a search warrant approved for another suspect tied to the shootout.

"We’re doing things like this, striking hard blows against guns and gangs and the violent people who pick them up and use them to perpetrate crimes against our residents," said Lightfoot.  

Dean is scheduled to appear in bond court Friday at noon, where prosecutors will lay out specifics of the case.

"We are not going to let Austin or any other neighborhood turn into the wild, wild west where people are not held accountable for what they do," Lightfoot said.

The shooting stemmed from an internal dispute between factions of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang. Caught on police surveillance video, it played out like a scene from an action movie.

At least three people linked to the gang’s Body Snatchers jumped out of two Dodge Chargers and started shooting into a home, according to a police report and a source with knowledge of the incident. Members of the Jack Boys faction who were inside the home fired back.

Dean was dropped off at a hospital. Neither Brown nor Foxx would comment on whether Dean is seen on the video being shot.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.