Chicago police arrested a man in connection with the shooting of two union officials outside their meeting hall, according to reports Tuesday.
William Cowart was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery and the illegal discharge of a firearm. He allegedly opened fire Friday night after a fight outside the United Auto Workers Local 551 main meeting hall. Aaron Straker and Jeff Bacon were rushed to the hospital after the incident and are in stable condition.
“The offender was positively identified as the person who shot two males, age 40 and 44, in the legs before fleeing,” police said in a statement provided to The Northwest Indiana Times. “The victims were transported to St. Margaret Hospital in Indiana in stable condition.”
Police added the incident is under investigation and it’s not yet known what motivated the shooting. Straker and Bacon were reelected to the union bargaining unit the day prior. The Cook County Sheriff’s office said Cowart was ordered in court Tuesday to be held without bail, reports the Chicago Tribune.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic events that took place at UAW Local 551,” Vice President Jimmy Settles said in a statement. “While we await the results of the police investigation, I respectfully ask that we embrace one another and unite around our brothers and sisters at UAW Local 551 and the surrounding community.”
Local 551 represents 4,200 workers at the nearby Ford Motor Company assembly plant. Plant chairman, trustees, sergeant of arms and guide candidates failed to get at least 51 percent of the recent vote, resulting in a runoff election.
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