Elgin man charged with shooting two men in a Huntley home held without bond

  • Lewis C. McCracken

    Lewis C. McCracken

Updated 1/10/2023 7:59 PM

A 27-year-old Elgin man was ordered held without bail Monday on allegations pushed his way into a Huntley home in July, "pistol-whipped" a woman and shot two men before fleeing to Mexico and then Pennsylvania.

Lewis C. McCracken was arrested in Donora, Pennsylvania, in September. He was brought back to Illinois last week.


McCracken is charged with four counts of attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a felon and aggravated battery of a person older than 60.

Assistant State's Attorney Bill Bruce argued before Judge James Cowlin on Monday that McCracken "poses an extreme threat" to the surviving victims, the community and himself.

He cited McCracken's "extensive criminal history," which dates back to when he was a teenager and includes felony convictions in Kane County that resulted in prison time for weapons charges. He also said McCracken faces spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

At the time of the July 18 shooting in Huntley, McCracken was on pretrial bond in DuPage County for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and driving under the influence of alcohol in Kane County, Bruce said. Both cases remain pending.

Defense attorney Brian Stevens asserted that McCracken fired his gun in "self-defense." Stevens also said if released on bond, McCracken would wear an ankle monitor, follow any court-imposed guidelines and stay with a friend who would drive him to court hearings.

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McCracken is accused of going to the Huntley home to confront a 29-year-old man who lived there regarding a dispute that began two days earlier in Elgin over a woman.

Armed with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, McCracken arrived at the Huntley home about 4:30 a.m. July 18, where a woman opened the door to his "pounding," thinking it was the police, according to prosecutors. When she realized it was not the police, the woman tried to shut the door and McCracken "prevented her from shutting it," prosecutors said.

Hearing the commotion, the 29-year-old man and a 68-year-old man ran down the stairs. The older man, later identified as Mark Wahlstedt, was armed with a .380-caliber handgun and ordered McCracken to leave. McCracken "disarmed" Wahlstedt "and a struggle ensued," Bruce said.

He "pistol-whipped" the woman, who is older than 60, and "fired multiple rounds" at the two men, authorities alleged.

Bruce said that before McCracken shot at Wahlstedt, he said, "Is this what you want, old man?"


A nearby home security camera picked up the sound of eight bullets being fired at the home. Police found five spent cartridges on the premises.

Wahlstedt never shot his gun, Bruce said.

Wahlstedt, who was shot in the upper thigh, underwent several surgeries and died in a rehabilitation facility in Lake County on Oct. 7. He was 69 when he died of a cause likely unrelated to the shooting, Lake County Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Newton said.

Newton said that before the gunshot wound, Wahlstedt had ischemic colitis. The cause and manner of death is listed as pulmonary embolism, because of deep vein thrombosis of undetermined etiology, with complications of bowel perforation because of ischemic colitis acting as a contributing condition.

"Could the gunshot wound have exacerbated the condition? Possibly, but there was not enough evidence (during) the autopsy to rule his death to be the result of the shooting," Newton said.

The other man who was with Wahlstedt has recovered from a gunshot to the elbow.

The day after the shooting in Huntley, police set up surveillance on an apartment building in Elgin. McCracken and another man left the apartment building and drove off in the other man's vehicle as police followed, prosecutors say.

The vehicle was later found in a field near Route 25 and West Bartlett Road.

Both men fled on foot and entered a business in Bartlett. McCracken is accused of approaching two employees who were working on a truck, threatening them with his handgun and taking a truck, Bruce said.

The truck later was recovered in Addison. The handgun used in the Huntley shooting was found stuffed between the seats inside the truck and loaded with 13 rounds, Bruce said.

Bruce said McCracken then fled the state and at some point was in Mexico before traveling to Pennsylvania, where he was arrested after a nearly two-hour standoff with police in September.

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