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Bond at $3M for Waukegan man accused in month-old murder

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

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Updated: November 2, 2011 12:45AM

A Waukegan man was being held Friday in Lake County Jail on $3 million bond after he turned himself in to North Chicago police in connection with the murder of 23-year-old Philip O’Bryant.

A warrant had been issued for the arrest of Robert Smith, 20, and North Chicago Police Chief Mike Newsome said Friday authorities had officers with the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Team, and the fugitive task force blanketing the area looking for the suspect the last few days.

“They did a good job. This will give some closure to the family and the community,” Newsome said.

“It was a good thing we were able to get the warrant,” he said, adding that the charges on the warrant were for first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Police said Smith followed O’Bryant in his vehicle Aug. 5 and pulled up alongside of him and shot several times near the intersection of Adams and 14th streets, striking the victim in the head.

Smith did not speak when he turned himself in and has not made a statement to police, said North Chicago Police Cmdr. George McClary.

“I was getting calls from everyone,” said O’Bryant’s father, Aubrey, because of the heavy police presence everywhere. “It worked,” he said.

“I don’t know what to say. We finally got justice for his life. We’re elated,” he said. “The chief was calling me every day and they did an excellent job.”

His wife, Melinda, said they appreciate all the officers that were pulled in for the search once they had a warrant for Smith’s arrest.

“We’re relieved. We feel a little safer to be at home. We’re so happy North Chicago police didn’t give up,” she said.

Her son, Philip, was on the honor roll at North Chicago High School and received college credits from going to several colleges for extra courses before he was out of school, including Columbia College of Missouri locally. “He had college credits before he left high school,” said his mother.

Last weekend, the family held a barbecue with CeaseFire, an organization that works on the street using ex-gang members to reduce tensions. O’Bryant was not a gang member, but his parents wanted to have the barbecue to remind young kids in gangs who shoot first and think later.

“They don’t realize the harm they do, to the victim’s family and their family when they get caught and go to jail. Two families are affected,” said O’Bryant’s father.

O’Bryant was married with one child.

Another man, who has not been identified, was with O’Bryant and was wounded.

O’Bryant was shot just minutes away from his destination, a barber shop on Sheridan Road just around the corner. He had just called the barber to say he was going to be there in just a couple of minutes.

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