Man charged with shooting two men in a Huntley home held without bond; faces life in prison

‘Is this what you want old man?’ Lewis McCracken allegedly said to victim before shooting, prosecutor says

Inset of Lewis C. McCracken in front of Northwest Herald file photo of the McHenry County courthouse.

A 27-year-old man was ordered held without bond Monday after he allegedly pushed his way into a Huntley home in July, “pistol-whipped” a woman and shot two men before fleeing to Mexico and then Pennsylvania where he was arrested, according to court records.

Lewis C. McCracken of Elgin had been held on a $750,000 bond since his arrest in Donora, Pennsylvania, in September. He would have needed to post $75,000 to be released from the McHenry County jail. McCracken was brought back to Illinois last week.

McCracken is charged with four counts of attempted murder, Class X felonies; possession of a firearm by a felon, a Class 2 felony; and aggravated battery of a person over 60, a Class 3 felony, according to a criminal complaint filed in the McHenry County courthouse.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Bruce, a special prosecutor with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, argued before Judge James Cowlin on Monday that McCracken “poses an extreme threat” to the surviving victims, the community and himself.

He cited McCracken’s “extensive criminal history,” which dates back to when he was a teenager and includes felony convictions in Kane County that resulted in prison time for weapons charges. He also said McCracken faces spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted.

At the time of the July 18 shooting in Huntley, McCracken was on pre-trial bond in DuPage County for unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and driving under the influence of alcohol in Kane County, Bruce said. Both cases remain pending.

McCracken’s attorney Brian Stevens asserted that he fired his gun in “self-defense.” Stevens also said if released on bond, McCracken would stay with a friend who would drive him to court hearings, wear an ankle monitor and follow any court-imposed guidelines, including staying away from the alleged surviving victims and witnesses.

McCracken is accused of going to the Huntley home to confront a 29-year-old man who lived there regarding a dispute that began two days earlier in Elgin over a woman with whom they were both involved, according to the petition for a denial of bail.

Armed with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, McCracken arrived at the Huntley home about 4:30 a.m. on July 18, where a woman opened the door to his “pounding,” thinking it was the police, according to the petition. When she realized it was not the police, the woman tried to shut the door and McCracken “prevented her from shutting it,” prosecutors said in the petition.

Hearing the commotion, the 29-year-old man and a 68-year-old man ran down the stairs. The older man, later identified as Mark Wahlstedt, was armed with a .380-caliber handgun and ordered McCracken to leave. McCracken “disarmed” Wahlstedt “and a struggle ensued,” Bruce said.

He “pistol-whipped” the woman, who was over age 60, with his gun and “fired multiple rounds” at the two men, according to the petition.

Bruce said before McCracken shot at Wahlstedt, he said, “Is this what you want, old man?”

A nearby home security camera picked up the sound of eight bullets being fired at the home, Bruce said. Police found five spent cartridges on the premises, according to the petition.

Wahlstedt never shot his gun, Bruce said.

Wahlstedt, who was shot in the upper thigh, underwent several surgeries and died in a rehabilitation facility in Lake County on Oct. 7, Bruce said. He was 69 when he died of a cause likely unrelated to the shooting, Lake County Chief Deputy Coroner Steve Newton said.

Newton said that before the gunshot wound, Wahlstedt had ischemic colitis and his primary care physician didn’t think his death was related to the gunshot wound. The cause and manner of death is listed as pulmonary embolism, because of deep vein thrombosis of undetermined etiology, with complications of bowel perforation because of ischemic colitis acting as a contributing condition.

“Could the gunshot wound have exacerbated the condition? Possibly, but there was not enough evidence [during] the autopsy to rule his death to be the result of the shooting,” Newton said.

The other man who was with Wahlstedt, who was shot in the elbow, has recovered.

McCracken then fled to an “awaiting vehicle,” Bruce said.

It was “undetermined” Monday if charges would be filed against the driver of the vehicle, State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said.

The day after the shooting in Huntley, police set up surveillance on an apartment building in Elgin. McCracken and the other man left the apartment building and drove off in the other man’s vehicle as police followed, the petition states.

Police tried to stop the vehicle and the driver allegedly “accelerated” and drove off. The vehicle was later found in a field near Route 25 and West Bartlett Road.

Both men fled on foot and entered a business in Bartlett. McCracken is accused of approaching two employees there who were working on a truck, threatening them with his handgun and taking a truck, Bruce said.

The truck later was recovered in Addison, Bruce said. The handgun used in the Huntley shooting was found stuffed between the seats inside the truck and loaded with 13 rounds.

No charges have been filed in connection to the Bartlett truck incident, according to the Cook and Kane county state’s attorney’s offices.

Bruce said McCracken then fled the state and at some point was in Mexico before traveling to Pennsylvania where he was arrested after a nearly two-hour standoff with police in September. He was extradited to McHenry County on Jan. 3.