Man pleads not guilty to attempted murder of North Chicago police officer

A Waukegan man accused of being involved in shooting at an North Chicago police officer pleaded not guilty to a series of charges in Lake County court Wednesday.

Willie Bell, 28, is charged with first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer, reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm. His trial is scheduled for July 29.

Bell and two others - Raymond Steward, 26, of North Chicago, and James Towns, 27, of Waukegan - were involved in a series of shootings and a vehicle chase that led to shots being fired at the unidentified North Chicago police officer, authorities said.

North Chicago police responded shortly after 1 a.m. April 21 to a shooting near Argonne Drive and Jackson Street. Police reported finding several spent shell casings.

A short time later, officers were called to a shooting on the 1500 block of Broadway Avenue. There, police found a Lyft driver whose vehicle had been shot several times.

While police were at that scene, other officers were sent to 14th Street and Dugdale Road for reports of shots fired from one moving vehicle into another.

At 3:14 a.m., a police officer on patrol near 19th and Grove streets found the vehicle suspected to be involved in all three shootings. The officer attempted a traffic stop, but the driver fled, resulting in a chase where one of the occupants fired at least two gunshots at the pursuing officer, authorities said.

Bell, Steward and Towns were arrested when the chase ended, authorities said.

Steward and Towns both have pleaded not guilty to charges similar to Bell's. Steward has a June 24 trial date, but no trial date has been set for Towns.

Steward is due back in court on June 5, Towns on June 7, and Bell on June 12.

Three charged with attempted murder of North Chicago police officer

Raymond Steward
James Towns
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