Murder Suspect Said He ‘F—– Up’ After Bloody Southside Shooting Spree


A suburban man has been charged in a July 6 crime spree that led to the murder of an unarmed store clerk.

It all started about 7:30 a.m. July 6 when Manuel Gama, 19, shot a man in his leg and stole his Pontiac Grand Prix in the 8900 block of South Chicago Avenue, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said during a bond hearing Friday.

The victim had been pumping gas when Gama approached, shot the man and demanded his keys and wallet, prosecutors said. A 15-year-old accomplice acted as lookout.

After Gama and his accomplice got into the Grand Prix, Gama threatened to shoot the victim again if he didn’t help the pair escape by removing the gas pump nozzle from the car, Santini said. The man complied and was later able to identify both attackers.

Gama and his accomplice — who was arrested earlier this month — popped up again 10 minutes later in the 8400 block of South Mackinaw Avenue, prosecutors said.

There, Gama is accused of firing multiple shots at a man riding a bicycle — striking the victim once in his chest and once in his left wrist. According to authorities, the man survived and told police he’d been shot by someone in a silver Pontiac Grand Prix.

A third altercation happened about 8:05 a.m. in Kenwood when Gama, who was driving the Grand Prix, crashed into a another car in the 4700 block of South Lake Shore Drive — and then drove away, prosecutors said.

The other car’s driver began following Gama, hoping to get his license plate number, Santini said. When Gama realized what was happening, he pointed his gun at the woman from inside his car, and she immediately backed off, prosecutors noted.

The victim would later describe Gama and the Grand Prix to police.

At that point, Gama and his accomplice headed to a Shell gas station in the 5400 block of South Harlem Avenue in suburban Summit, prosecutors said. There, Gama is accused of robbing two store clerks at gunpoint while his accomplice, who was also carrying a gun, acted as lookout.

Gama, his accomplice and the damaged Grand Prix were all caught on surveillance video, Santini said.

The final attack happened about 8:50 a.m. when Gama murdered 34-year-old store clerk Ghassan Abujeries in a botched robbery at a different Shell station in the 7200 block of West 63rd Street in suburban Summit, prosecutors said.

The 15-year-old once again acted as lookout while Gama approached Abujeries with a gun, Santini said. According to prosecutors, Gama fatally shot Abujeries in the groin and thigh area before beating the man in his head with a gun.

Abujeries refused to open his cash register, prosecutors said, so Gama ripped out the register drawer and fled with his accomplice. Abujeries was later pronounced dead at Loyola University Medical Center.

The entire incident was captured on surveillance camera.

Police released images of Gama and the 15-year-old to local news media, prosecutors said, and both suspects were identified through multiple anonymous tips.

Gama, of suburban Lansing, was arrested on a warrant Wednesday, court records show. He is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm. Continue Reading
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