ATF agent Shot in the Face takes the Stand at Trial of Gang Shooter

(Sun Times Wire) The bullet pierced the side of his neck and came out between his eyes.

A year and two surgeries later, ATF agent Kevin Crump took the stand Friday in the trial of the man accused of firing the shot that almost killed him.

“I felt a lot of pain in my neck and jaw, and I could feel blood on my face,” said Crump, from the witness stand at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Crump, showing no obvious signs of his injuries, said he spent five nights in the hospital after the May 4, 2018 shooting and had surgeries that involved placing a titanium plate and mesh in his face.

Ernesto Godinez, 29, was arrested three days after the Back of the Yards shooting, accused of opening fire while Crump and other federal agents were trying to place tracking devices on several vehicles as part of a prolonged investigation.

In their opening statement earlier this week, prosecutors said Godinez, a member of the Latin Saints street gang, shot Crump — an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — because he thought he was a rival gang member. Prosecutors point, in part, to the video surveillance showing Godinez fleeing the immediate area moments after Crump was shot. But Godinez’s attorneys says there is no direct evidence linking him to the shooting — no fingerprints, no gunshot residue. In fact, they say, anyone could have fired the shot in what they called a “high crime area.”

Crump testified Friday that he and other agents were in the Back of the Yards neighborhood driving unmarked cars and wearing plain clothes so they wouldn’t be spotted. Crump said he was wearing a black hoodie, jeans and black sneakers.

“We were attempting to blend into the neighborhood,” he said.

Crump said he heard several “loud gunshots” shortly after the car in which he was a passenger had stopped near South Hermitage and West 44th. Crump said some agents managed to take cover as the bullets flew.

“I felt like I was struck by one of the bullets,” Crump said. He fell, got to his feet and then “wobbled over” to a vehicle, he said.

Under cross examination, Crump told defense attorney Lawrence Hyman that he’d not seen the person who shot him.

Prosecutors rested their case with Crump’s testimony. The trial is set to resume Monday morning. Godinez told Judge Harry Leinenweber that he is not planning to testify in his own defense.

Article Org; chicago.suntimes.com

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