The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice O'mara Frossard
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County Honorable Rodney Brooks, Judge Presiding.
The 13-year-old minor-respondent, S.V., was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful use of a weapon. After a bench trial S.V. was found guilty of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. S.V. was adjudicated delinquent and sentenced to probation for one year.
Respondent argues on appeal that the evidence seized must be suppressed and the conviction reversed because the arresting officer did not have reasonable articulable suspicion to justify the stop and frisk of S.V. We find the stop and frisk were legally justified and affirm.
On April 17, 2000, at about 5 p.m., Officer Michael Nallen and his two partners received several anonymous radio calls about a gang fight with shots fired at Cermak Road and Western Avenue. Officer Nallen was given some descriptions of the suspects, but could not recall the specific descriptions given. At about 5:15 p.m., in response to these multiple calls, Officer Nallen drove westbound toward Cermak and Western. Approximately, two blocks east and one block south of that location, at approximately 2238 West 21st Street, he observed the respondent in the street, walking eastbound with two other people. Officer Nallen saw the respondent and the two other people flashing gang signs of the Satan Disciples at passing vehicles and passing citizens. Officer Nallen did not speak to citizens, either driving in their cars or out on the street, who had been the subject of the gang signs flashed by respondent because they had "fled." During the hearing on the motion to suppress Officer Nallen testified:
"Q: So you were investigating gang-related shootings?
Q: That's when you came upon the minor respondent and his two other friends flashing gang signs, correct?
Q: You recognized these to be gang signs?
Q: Upon seeing these gang sings, you curbed your vehicle?
Q: You approached the minor respondent?
Q: And you wanted to ask him about what he had been doing in relation to the gang shootings, correct?
Q: That's when you performed a protective pat-down?
Regarding his reasons for the protective pat-down, Officer Nallen testified on cross-examination by the State as follows:
"Q: Why did you perform a protective pat-down of this minor?
A: For my safety and the safety of my partners.
Q: For your safety in ...