By Chuck Ross
An Uber driver in Chicago with a concealed carry license defended himself and a group of pedestrians against a man who opened fire on a crowded street Friday night, a state attorney said in court on Sunday.
Assistant State Attorney Barry Quinn said that 22-year-old Everardo Custodio began shooting at a group of pedestrians shortly before midnight Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The group was passing in front of a vehicle occupied by an unnamed 47-year-old Uber driver.
The driver, who has a state-issued firearm owner’s identification card, pulled out a shotgun and fired six times, hitting Custodio in the shin, knee and lower back, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Police responded quickly and found Custodio lying in the middle of the street. The Uber driver stayed on the scene and provided a statement to police.
The driver does not face charges as, according to Quinn, he “was acting in self-defense and in the defense of others.”
Custodio’s gun was recovered at the scene. He is still in the hospital and faces charges of aggravated assault and unlawful weapons charges.
A spokeswoman for Uber told the Sun-Times that the driver had just dropped off a passenger when Custodio began shooting. The company plans to interview the driver and his passenger. His Uber profile is still active.
Had Friday’s incident occurred just a little more than a year ago, the Uber driver would likely face weapons charges of his own. Illinois was the last state in the U.S. to legalize the concealed carry of firearms. A law allowing concealed carry was passed in July 2013, but the state did not begin issuing licenses until February 2014.
Many gun control activists feared that legalizing the concealed carry of guns would lead to increased crime. Those fears have failed to come to fruition, both across the U.S. and Illinois. Gun rights advocates argue that expanded concealed carry is associated with lower crime rates and that very few crimes are committed by concealed carriers.