A Lawndale man who shot his brother because of a dispute over clothing has been charged with fatally shooting a 74-year-old man who confronted him during the shooting, officials said. He also was charged with wounding his brother, who was left unable to walk after the shooting.
Elbert Fox, 32, of the 1500 block of South Harding Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Webster Gater and aggravated battery with a firearm in the shooting of his brother, authorities said.
Fox was ordered held without bail today in a hearing before Cook County Criminal Court Judge Ramon Ocasio III, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Fox had been arguing with his brother, age 30, for a week, accusing the brother of throwing away his clothes, said Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Early on the morning of Oct. 29 the argument escalated at the building where Fox lives in a front apartment and his brother lives in a rear apartment, Conklin said.
The brother came home and was confronted by Fox, who took out a gun, and chased his brother outside, starting to shoot at him the street and striking him several times in the legs, Conklin said. While Fox was firing, Gater, who retired several years ago from working as a maintenance man in the area but still does maintenance work at a building next door, was about to go into a side door of the next-door building.
At some point, a witness heard someone yell at Fox, saying “No, don’t do it.”
Gater yelled at Fox, asking him what he was doing, and Fox stopped shooting at his brother and ran at Gater, Conklin said. The brother saw Fox run into the gangway between the buildings, and heard another shot. Fox shot Gater above the left eye and then ran into the alley, Conklin said.
Gater was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was declared dead at 6:35 a.m., about a half-hour after the shooting. An autopsy found he died from the gunshot wound to his head, which entered above his eye and exited out the back of his head, Conklin said.
Fox’s brother also was taken to Mount Sinai, where he was treated for gunshot wounds in which bullets went through both thighs, as well as a gunshot wound to one of his shins, Conklin said. The brother is unable to walk following the shooting, Conklin said.
Police later found a gun in the alley near the brother’s van, Conklin said. The gun matched shell casing found at the scene of the shootings.
After the shooting, Fox admitted to someone who investigators later interviewed that he had shot both his brother and Gater, Conklin said. He was found and arrested in Cicero, hiding in a van owned by a person now considered a witness in the case.
Gater, of the 2000 block of South 2nd Avenue in Maywood, was visiting friends in the neighborhood that he and his family had lived in for 30 years, according to his wife, Marion.
Gater, the father of five children, was a retired maintenance man. "He would just help people. He could fix your stove or your steps," his wife of 50 years said.
Fox is on federal supervised release after having been found guilty in Nebraska in a 2004 possession of crack-cocaine with intent to deliver case and released from federal prison in 2010, according to police and federal court records. His supervised released was to last until 2014.
Fox also has served time in Illinois prison on drug charges, according to police and court records. He has several drug convictions in Cook County dating back to 1998, according to court records.
Fox was scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 23.