Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"A Danger To The Community"

The Trib has a follow-up article regarding the attack on a Sheridan Road woman last Saturday night.  Absolutely chilling.  It's not easy to read, so if you are sensitive to descriptions of violence, skip the italicized paragraph below.
During the attack, [Jason] Gurneau slammed the victim's head to the ground after pushing her from behind, Dickler said. When she began screaming, he stuck his fingers down her throat. He hit her in the head and face, grabbed her purse and began to leave, but turned around and choked the woman, Dickler said.  He slammed her against a building, ripped off her undergarments and sexually assaulted her.
Thankfully for everyone, the judge declared him "a danger to the community" and ordered that he be held without bond.  The article also details the injuries the victim received in the attack, which are disturbing.  A police officer who was trying apprehend him also received injuries.

The Tribune also mentions that Gurneau was released from prison and put on parole in October, from a forgery conviction.  He suffers from a mental disorder and does not work.

Most distressing are Jason Gurneau's statement to both the authorities and the man who called the police and went to help the victim.  According to the article:  "After his arrest, Gurneau told authorities he should have "finished the [expletive] off" and also said he "should have beaten the [expletive] out of her," according to Assistant State's Attorney Jamie Dickler."

According to Tom Schabow, who posted on UU's Facebook page, "Actually what he said was, 'This bitch was walking alone at night and had a house to go to while I am living on the streets, she deserved it and [I] would have finished the job.'"

We are really, really happy this guy is off the streets indefinitely. Uptown's a safer place because of his absence.  The victim remains in our thoughts.


  1. According to the CCDOC site, he is classified as Medium--what the hell? He should be in Maximum Security with the other violent peeps.

  2. This was a horrific crime against a resident of our community. Our hearts go out to the woman who was brutally attacked, and hope that she can get whatever help she needs to heal physically, mentally, and spiritually from this vicious assault.

    As a community, we must use this opportunity to demand that the City re-examine its approach to crime. According to the published reports, Mr. Gurneau is seriously mentally ill. It appears from press reports that he has cycled through the Cook County jail and the Illinois prison system, without having his mental illness treated, and then released to fend for himself on Chicago’s streets. Homeless, and without treatment, he became a bomb ready to explode. This cycle endangers the public, wastes valuable taxpayer dollars, and does nothing to protect us as a community.

    The criminal justice system cannot be allowed to remain as the default mental health provider for the poor of our community. Neighborhood mental health facilities that the City closed in last year’s budget should not only be re-opened, they need to expand. They need resources so that they can do real outreach to the homeless, working with other City and State agencies (including the jail and prisons), and with not-for-profits, to ensure that all who require mental health treatment can get it. The police have an important role to play in this effort—not to funnel people into the criminal justice system—by then it is too late, but to identify those at risk. They must work together with mental health providers to build trust among a population which has been isolated from society, and often abused by authority. True community policing, where the policeman on the beat knows, and is known by, neighbors is the keystone to building that trust.

    Only when we begin to rethink our approach to crime will we be safe. This is the time to act. Let us do so, before another time bomb explodes.

  3. Alan you're not writing anything that Sheriff Dart hasn't stated and campaigned for. As I get older and am getting older, the City is not my residence of choice. I am thinking of moving to some slow quiet college town. I don't think you'll see too many nut cases in the college towns.

  4. @Liana:

    There's crazy people everywhere. You mention a small college town as a safe haven? Have you forgotten about the apparently large number of mass shootings this year alone, including those at or near college institutions: Texas A&M in August, University of S. Cali in November and of course the Aurora, CO shooting.

    I grew up in the suburbs and can see where your mindset is, but there's crazy f#cks everywhere.

    Personally, I have been considering Canada.

  5. When people feel that they have had their dignity taken away, the resulting resentment can be quite dangerous.

  6. Conceal and Carry just passed in Illinois, time to even the playing field.

  7. unknown, offenders go wherever there is room. There was probably no more room in MAX for this gentleman.

  8. @ ScottFreeCD~

    Why do you say his dignity was "taken away?" Maybe he feels he has nothing and no dignity, but to imply that someone did it TO him as opposed to his situation being what it is due to his own actions is a tad too generous, IMHO. I'm sure he has a sad story, but what he did was brutal. And this is coming from a pretty big bleeding heart, if I do say so myself. I just can't muster up too much sympathy to a dangerous, repeat offender like that.

  9. His dignity wasn't taken away. His mental health services access was. This man is obviously mental and we are blaming conceal and carry, as well as society? Get real.

    There is no way that any man or woman, no matter the amount of training, could have pulled their gun out of their purses quickly enough to have prevented this attack. What would have happened would have happened and a man would have walked away with a new, shiny toy to play with.

    I love that we live in a world that replaces mental health services, access to medical care, and homeless care shelters with guns and weapons.

  10. I never said that he had his dignity taken away, but it's interesting to see how quickly people jump to conclusions.

  11. ScottFreeCD -

    "When people feel that they have had their dignity taken away, the resulting resentment can be quite dangerous."

    So you were not including him in the "people" you were referring to? That's confusing, because it sure seems like it. Maybe people wouldn't jump to conclusions if you were clearer.

  12. Uptown turboman et al, there is a difference between a person FEELING some hurt or that something has been done to them versus a person ACTUALLY having been hurt or having had something done to them by others. Scott never said that someone or society took this guys dignity away, he only suggested that Gurneau FELT that way. There is a big difference there, one person's perception vs. reality.

  13. I'm kind of incredulous as to the number of mentions of mental health care in homeless shelters as a missing link in whether or not this guy would have raped a woman. "Fend for himself on Chicago's streets"- Alan Mills....are you serious? Chelles, you too--unless you are suggesting that he should have been locked up indefinitely in a mental hospital...? He jammed his fingers down the throat of his victim, beat her and raped her, and HE is the one fending for himself?

    I see no evidence of a diagnosed mental illness in any of the news reports about the rapist. sorry ALLEGED rapist. The only help he needs is to be incarcerated for the rest of his life. There are sociopathic, incurable humans that cannot be rehabilitated, let's acknowledge that. The prison system failed us here. And then we would stop going down this slippery slope that a rapist (and killer by his own admission) should be "understood". What is troubling is that uptown has the dubious distinction of having a high concentration of offenders in one ward, because of services offered by the city to those in and out of prison, thus subjecting its citizens to an increased probablility of being a victim.

    Thankfully the 19th district police rock and got there as soon as they did. Amazing job.

  14. Regarding Gurneau and mental health treatment, the missing link appears to be in his transition from jail/prison back to society. Alan wrote that it appears Gurneau cycled through prison without having his mental illness treated, presuming he has one of course. It could very well be that he did in fact have his illness treated in prison. But, of course, treating severe mental illness tends to be an ongoing thing, one couldn't expect him to be treated in prison and cured. The important step is to ensure someone like that is compliant with mental health treatment when they are out of prison. And as far as access to mental health services in shelters or the community, well for one, there hasn't been any indication Gurneau stayed in any shelter or sought out any mental health services in the community. The services are there, though granted they have been severely cut and are much more limited as compared to 10-15 years ago, but unless someone is deemed a danger to themselves or others, they cannot be mandated/forced to receive treatment. It would have been completely up to Gurneau to access these services. And that is the problem. With hindsight it appears, again if in fact he has a mental illness, that he should have been mandated to receive treatment with a mental health parole officer ensuring his compliance; with being sent back to prison the consequence for failing to stay in treatment/take his meds.

    The real problem is is having unstable people discharged from prison and back onto the streets without the necessary support and supervision in place. But of course that takes money and our state doesn't have any.