Stories by matt masterson

Chicago Has Seen 700 Homicides, 3,000 Shootings Thus Far in 2020

(WTTW News)

Last month, Chicago recorded 267 shootings and 58 homicides — increases of more than 70% compared to November 2019. “This has been a difficult year for law enforcement throughout the country,” top cop David Brown said.

Man Charged in Fatal Stabbing Following Thanksgiving Gathering

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

An altercation over leftovers following Thanksgiving dinner escalated into the fatal stabbing of a 52-year-old man early Friday morning in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Tests Positive for COVID-19

Sheriff Tom Dart speaks about COVID-19 at the Cook County Jail on Nov. 12, 2020. (WTTW News)

The sheriff began feeling symptomatic on Nov. 20, his office said, and he immediately self-quarantined at that point. He has not worked in his office since Nov. 19.

Chicago Police Release Photo of Vehicle Sought in Fatal Hit-And-Run

Chicago police are seeking the driver of this GMC Acadia in connection with a fatal hit-and-run in Little Village. (Chicago Police Department)

The Chicago Police Department on Monday released a photo of a vehicle they describe as a 2008-2012 GMC Acadia that’s believed to be involved in the death of 86-year-old Eliseo Mendoza.

‘Making Sense of 2020’: How WTTW News Told the Story of an Unprecedented Year

“Chicago Tonight” co-anchor Brandis Friedman is among those interviewed in the new WTTW documentary “Making Sense of 2020.” (WTTW News)

Premiering Tuesday, a new documentary from WTTW senior producer Daniel Andries analyzes how reporters, producers and staff at WTTW News adapted to report the story of a year unlike any other.

Pritzker: Illinois to Borrow $2B from Feds To Cover Short-Term COVID-19 Losses

COVID-19 in Illinois: 11,378 New Cases, 155 Additional Deaths

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during his daily press briefing on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. (WTTW News)

“Adding debt is not a long-term solution to structural imbalance,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said. “Short-term borrowing is a short-term Band-Aid to address the urgency of a short-term problem like one caused by a pandemic.” 

Man Charged With Attempted Murder After Allegedly Shooting at 3 Chicago Officers

(WTTW News)

Kamari Pleasant was denied bail Tuesday, three days after he allegedly fired 19 shots at a trio of Chicago police officers and then attempted to evade pursuit by hiding under a pile of leaves on the Far South Side.

Trials on Hold, Judges to Work Remotely as Cook County Courts Go Fully Virtual

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

“These actions are needed to protect public health, as we continue to monitor this pandemic,” Chief Judge Timothy Evans said. “Our system of justice has continued to hear all necessary and urgent matters, and today’s order does not change that.”

Barack Obama Surprises CPS Students During Virtual Event

President Barack Obama speaks to thousands of Chicago Public Schools students during a surprise Zoom call Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. (Chicago Public Schools / YouTube)

The country’s 44th president gave all Chicago public high school students digital access to his new book, “A Promised Land,” during a surprise appearance at a virtual assembly on Monday.

Ex-Chicago State Professor Accused of Embezzling $650K From Student Organization

A file photo of Chicago State University. (WTTW News)

Carmita Coleman was charged Friday with four counts of wire fraud following a five-year scheme in which she allegedly took $651,272 and used the funds on, among other things, “clothing, food, and trips.”

Pritzker Concerned With Saving Lives as New COVID-19 Mitigations Take Effect Friday

COVID-19 in Illinois: 14,612 New Cases, 168 Additional Deaths

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (WTTW News)

“My No. 1 consideration is not whether someone’s going to get angry at me,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday. “It’s whether I can save a life or save the lives of people who are potentially going to get sick."

Protesters Suing City of Chicago, Top Cop Over Response to Summer Protests

Protesters and police officers wearing riot gear have a standoff near Daley Plaza on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of 60 protesters who claim police used “unconstitutional tactics that are clearly intended to injure, silence, and intimidate” during protests following the killing of George Floyd.

‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ Pleads Not Guilty to Animal Cruelty Charge After Dan Ryan Ride

The “Dreadhead Cowboy” is seen on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago. (Courtesy Vashon Jordan Jr. / @vashon_photo)

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, entered the plea through his attorney Thursday during a brief arraignment held in virtual court.

Illinois Tops 11,000 COVID-19 Deaths, 600,000 Cases Since Pandemic Began

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (WTTW News)

“COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in Illinois, behind heart disease and cancer,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday as state health officials reported 8,922 new COVID-19 cases and 140 virus-related deaths.

CPS: Education Equity Remains An Issue Through First Quarter

(ArtisticOperations / Pixabay)

CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade said that while the number of A’s given to students this school year is up compared to last year, so too is the number of F’s, particularly among students of color.

COVID-19 and the Courts: 5 Cook County Judges Test Positive This Month

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Five Cook County Circuit Court judges and 37 more employees working under the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans have tested positive for COVID-19 thus far this month.

More Than 2 Dozen Charged in Connection to Alleged West Side Drug Hotline, Operation

(Thomas Hawk / Flickr)

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said federal law enforcement officers made two dozen undercover drug purchases from the defendants’ operation over a three-month span this summer.

In-Person Visits Once Again Suspended at Cook County Jail

Cook County Jail (WTTW News)

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced that beginning Monday, it will temporarily halt visits at the jail as Chicago and Cook County continue dealing with a second surge of COVID-19.

Pritzker Warns State Heading Toward New Stay-at-Home Order

Gov. J.B. Pritzker gives his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Nov. 12, 2020 (WTTW News)

Barring a dramatic turnaround in the spiking numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Illinois, the state may soon be looking at another version of a stay-at-home order, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.

CPS Agrees to Mediation With CTU, But Not Over Decision To Reopen Schools

(WTTW News)

The Board of Education has agreed to engage in mediation with teachers, but said it won't discuss the most pressing issue for the union: when students will return to school.

Suburban Medical Supplier Accused of Swindling Hospitals Out of Millions Worth of PPE


Dennis Haggerty, 44, was charged in federal court Tuesday with a single count of wire fraud after he allegedly took millions of dollars from a pair of university hospitals for N95 face masks which he never produced.

Teachers Union Seeking Mediator to Aid in School Reopening Negotiations With CPS

(WTTW News)

As a potential return to in-person learning draws nearer for some Chicago Public Schools students, the Chicago Teachers Union is seeking help in negotiations with the district over classroom reopenings.

IDPH Publishes School-Based COVID-19 Data as Illinois Sets New Record for Cases

Gov. J.B. Pritzker enters isolation after possible exposure to virus

(WTTW News)

As Illinois saw more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, state health officials released new data showing there have been 10 school-based coronavirus outbreaks, while hundreds of schools have faced potential exposures.

Pritzker Says Madigan Needs to Go as Head of Illinois Dems

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (WTTW News)

“The Republicans, and the billionaires who sided with them, were effectively able to use the speaker as their foil and that hurt our ability, our state’s ability to get things done,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday.

Illinois Reaches Grim Milestone, Tops 10,000 COVID-19 Deaths

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks to the media during his daily press briefing on COVID-19 on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (WTTW News)

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 9,935 new cases of COVID-19, a single-day record, and 97 deaths. In Illinois, 10,030 have now died as a result of the virus.

Michael Toomin, Other Eligible Cook County Judges Appear to Earn Retention


With more than 98% of precincts reporting by Wednesday afternoon, each of the 61 Cook County judges seeking retention in Tuesday’s election appear to have surpassed the 60% voting threshold necessary to remain on the bench.