Chicago pair wanted after female bystander shot in back in north Hammond during possible revenge shooting

A pair is facing charges after a woman sitting at a nearby traffic light was shot in the back in north Hammond the day after Christmas.

Police allege Keith Love Jr. was targeting a man in the area in a revenge shooting, court records show.

Love and Lavon Townes, both 34, of Chicago, were charged on April 17 with aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony, battery by means of a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony, battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a Level 5 felony, attempted battery by means of a deadly weapon, a Level 5 felony, and two counts of criminal recklessness, both Level 6 felonies.

Neither is in custody. Both Love and Townes, a woman, are ordered held on a $100,000, or $10,000 cash surety bond.

Court documents allege security footage showed someone with Love in a dark-colored Chevrolet Equinox and appeared to link Townes from cell phone location data.

Hammond Police responded at 7:34 p.m. Dec. 26 to State Line Avenue and Rimbach Street for multiple gunshots.

A relative said she was giving the victim a ride to her boyfriend’s house. They were stopped at a traffic light near State Line Avenue and Rimbach Street when four or five shots erupted. They ducked but the victim screamed. The relative drove her to the Hammond Police Station, thinking the nearest hospital was “too far.”

From there, the victim was taken by ambulance to a Chicago hospital for emergency surgery. Court records do not show the woman was paralyzed, however, she will likely have permanent nerve damage and remain “immunocompromised” from the shooting. The victim was headed to her boyfriend’s to celebrate her birthday.

Police found 10 .223-caliber bullet casings in the alley.

Multiple security cameras appeared to show the Equinox in a south alley near the 100 block of Rimbach Street. It pulls up, the driver — later identified as Love — parks and gets out, going toward the man near a white truck, before opening fire with an AR-15-type semi-automatic pistol.

The man gets into the truck and then flees. The shooter gets into the SUV’s passenger side, with the other person jumping into the driver’s seat and taking off. The SUV reversed out of the alley until it was out of camera range.

Investigators believed the white truck’s driver was the intended target. Court records allege the man opened fire at Love and a different woman in the area on Oct. 28 in a criminal recklessness case.

Public court filings do not yet show the man has been charged.

The man lied to police and said he wasn’t in the area for the Dec. 26 shooting. Later, he said he showed up afterward when he heard about it. He was talking to a “friend.” Investigators said he wasn’t cooperative.

Nearby, they found a stray bullet from the later shooting hit a second-story window in a Calumet City apartment building on the 20 block of Memorial Drive — about 500 feet from the crime scene. No one appeared to be hurt.

License plate readers picked up the Equinox — registered to Townes — at 7:21 p.m. near State Line Avenue and Sibley Street in Hammond, then at 7:48 p.m. near Interstate 94 and 130th Street in Chicago. They pinged again near Townes’ Chicago home around 8:30 p.m.

The affidavit alleges Townes called Chicago Police for a domestic battery call involving her and Love on Dec. 9.