A convicted drug dealer, given a second chance after a pardon by former President Barack Obama, has been arrested for attempted murder in a shooting which left a woman with traumatic brain injuries, police said.
Alton Mills, 54, had his life sentence commuted in 2015 after serving 22 years.
In the early hours of Sunday, a group of friends in a car leaving a nightclub overtook Mr Mills’ SUV at a red light in Posen, near Chicago, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Kathryn Morrissey.
Mr Mills then allegedly sped up to the other car, lowered his window, and fired three shots. One bullet struck a woman who was sleeping in the back seat of the car, and doctors have said they do not expect her to survive her injuries. Her name has not been released.
The driver of the vehicle pulled into a fire station to dial 911, and Illinois State Police tracked down Mr Mills. Investigators said that Mr Mills admitted to firing the shots.
He was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, and is being held without bond at the Cook County Jail.
Police subsequently searched Mr Mills’ home and found 40-caliber bullets that matched those used in the shooting. His vehicle also tested positive for gunshot residue.
Mr Mills was arrested on federal conspiracy charges in 1993 for selling cocaine, and was later convicted. Although he was found with less than five grams of crack cocaine in his possession, prosecutors sought a charge enhancement that boosted his sentence to life in prison, according to The Daily Mail.
The push for Mr Mills to be pardoned began with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. He requested his sentence be shortened, noting that Mr Mills’ first two drug convictions did not result in jail time.
Mr Mills case was rolled into a broader initiative by the Obama administration to grant clemency to non-violent offenders jailed during the US war on drugs in the 1990s, which disproportionately targeted Black people.
Senator Durbin argued at the time that Mr Mills has shown personal growth during two decades in prison, and that he had community support waiting for him in Chicago.
Once he was released, Mr Mills began working as a mechanic in Chicago before taking a job as a janitor.