Chicago Woman Charged in String of Bat Attacks on Northwest Side

A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

A Chicago woman who allegedly attacked eight people, some with a bat, across Albany Park and Irving Park this week asked at least one of the victims “What would happen if I bashed you with this bat?” before striking them.

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Denise Solorzano has been arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated battery using a deadly weapon, three counts of aggravated battery in a public place and one count of aggravated assault.

Cook County Judge Maryam Ahmad set her bond at $800,000 during a hearing Thursday afternoon, saying that amount represented $100,000 for each of the eight victims detailed in the prosecution’s proffer.

“The court weighs the public safety assessment and the mitigation and recognizes this is the defendant’s first arrest,” Ahmad said. “But sometimes people come before the court with such serious crimes and pose such a serious danger to the community, they must have a substantial bond as current Illinois law permits.”

The attacks began Sunday afternoon, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Dale-Schmidt, when Solorzano allegedly confronted a 33-year-old woman in the 4200 block of North Richmond Street around 3 p.m.

The woman was walking down the street when Solorzano allegedly drove up in her white Subaru sedan and yelled at the victim about “beating her ass.” Solorzano got out of her vehicle, punched the victim in the head and face, and began dragging her by her hair before a witness intervened and Solorzano fled, Dale-Schmidt said.

About an hour later, two women where in the 4000 block of West Lawrence Avenue when Solorzano allegedly approached them and asked “What would you do if I punched you in the face?”

According to Dale-Schmidt, Solorzano punched one of the women and slammed her head into the ground, causing that victim to briefly lose vision. She allegedly continued punching that victim until the second woman intervened, at which point Solorzano struck her and pulled out a chunk of the woman’s hair.

Police officers observed portions of this attack and as they intervened, Solorzano allegedly got back into her vehicle and fled, blowing through at least one stop sign. The officers briefly attempted to pursue the vehicle, but were able to record its license plate before they stopped.

Two days later, at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, two women were walking with a 6-month-old child in a stroller in the 4500 block of North Mozart Street when Solorzano allegedly exited her vehicle and confronted them with a bat.

She struck both women at least five times in their hands and arms with the bat before a resident yelled that she had called police, at which point Solorzano got back into her vehicle and fled, according to Dale-Schmidt.

While police were on the scene, they learned that another victim had been attacked a few blocks away as she tried to cross the intersection of Cullom and Sacramento. That woman was walking her dog when she was nearly struck by Solorzano’s vehicle.

She allegedly got out and asked the woman “What would happen if I bashed you with this bat?” before she struck the victim in her back and shoulder and then her arm and elbow before a witness intervened.

Just after noon Tuesday, another woman was through an intersection in the 3000 block of West Belle Plaine Avenue when had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit by Solorzano’s vehicle. Solorzano repeatedly used her vehicle to block the victim’s path, according to Dale-Schmidt, before she got out and hit a different woman with the bat on her arm and the top of her head.

At least three of the victims were hospitalized due to these attacks, and Dale-Schmidt said five victims were able to identify Solorzano in a photo array.

Using the license plate number, investigators eventually tracked the white Subaru to Solorzano’s parents, who said the vehicle belonged to Solorzano, according to Dale-Schmidt.

She was taken into custody Tuesday and a family member turned the vehicle over to law enforcement Wednesday — though Dale-Schmidt noted it was missing a distinctive bumper sticker that victims had seen on it during the attacks. The outline of that sticker could still allegedly be seen on the sedan, which caused Ahmad to believe there had been “some attempt to alter the evidence.”

During Thursday’s hearing, Solorzano’s defense attorney noted her client is dealing with “significant mental health issues” and sought a health care order. She is due back in court for a hearing May 17.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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