SYCAMORE – Raymundo Cortes was working his usual night shift at the 7-Eleven on West State Street on July 24 when a man came in asking for cigarettes, followed by another who pointed a gun at him and told him to open the safe.
Cortes said he told the gunman he couldn’t open the safe. The second man wanted him to open the office, and he told him he couldn’t because he didn’t have a key. That was when Cortes was repeatedly hit and dragged to the office door by the two men and then was shot with a .22-caliber handgun when he again said that he couldn’t open the office.
Cortes was one four witnesses who testified Wednesday in the second day of the armed robbery trial for DeAngelo D. Bryant, 22, of the 1100 block of West 10th Street in Chicago. Bryant is one of three men held without bond since July after being charged in connection with an armed robbery at the Sycamore 7-Eleven.
Two others, Terrance E.J. Storey, 28, of the 300 block of West 100th Street, Chicago, and Tevin T. Woods, 27, of the 6000 block of South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, have yet to face trial.
Prosecutors allege Bryant was the getaway driver.
On the stand, Cortes said he was finally able to push a button to call 911 after he was dragged back to the cash register and then the men left. After paramedics came to his aid at the store, he said he was brought to Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital for a couple of hours and then transferred to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, where he stayed for three days.
After everything was said and done, Cortes said, he was left with scars from his gunshot wounds in his back, arm, foot and knee, where a bullet is lodged and still causes him pain.
“The doctors said it was best to not remove it,” Cortes said through an interpreter during his testimony.
Members of Cortes’s family sitting in court cried during his testimony and as they watched security footage of Cortes being beaten and shot twice in the lower body by the men. None of the men harming Cortes was hiding his face, as seen in the video, but one man ripped the 7-Eleven uniform shirt off of Cortes and the man put Cortes’ shirt on himself when he tried to break into the register on his own.
DeKalb County State’s Attorney Rick Amato said during his opening statement Tuesday that Bryant had admitted to being the driver in the robbery at the Sycamore store and of a BP station in Carol Stream.
Other witnesses who testified Wednesday included Dorian Jarrette, an Elmhurst police officer who caught Bryant when he attempted to run away after crashing the getaway car; Sycamore police detective John Keacher, who took Bryant’s statement after he was brought back to Sycamore from Elmhurst; and Amanda Darnell, an Illinois State Police ballistics expert. Prosecutors also admitted into evidence the video of Keacher interviewing Bryant.
Keacher and Darnell also held the .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun that was found in the back of the car, according to police.
Jarrette said he saw a white car crash at about 1 a.m. near Route 64 and York Road in Elmhurst. He said he knew that was the kind of car police were looking for after the two robberies and that he took Bryant into custody after he tried to run away from the crash.
“We knew the only thing that happened in our jurisdiction was the crash,” Jarrette said.
Bryant, Storey and Woods all face armed robbery charges. If convicted, Bryant and Woods could face 21 to 45 years in prison; Storey, who police said admitted he fired the gun twice to scare the clerk, could face 31 years to life in prison.
Amato said the verdict for Bryant’s trial is expected to come Thursday.