Chicago man seeks pretrial release in deadly WeatherTech shooting case

Charles McKnight

A Chicago man charged with killing a co-worker and wounding two others in a 2022 shooting at the WeatherTech facility in Bolingbrook is seeking his release from jail.

Attorney Chuck Bretz, who is representing Charles McKnight, 28, requested his pretrial release on Oct. 19 but there has yet to be a hearing or ruling on it. McKnight’s case is set for a hearing on March 1 before Will County Judge Carmen Goodman.

McKnight is charged with the first-degree murder of a co-worker, Central Hightower, 37, of Plainfield. He’s also charged with the attempted murder of two other co-workers, Curtis Moore and Elvis Thomas.

Although Bretz acknowledged McKnight is charged with offenses eligible for detention under the SAFE-T Act, he contended in a motion that McKnight does not “pose a real and present threat to the safety” of anyone or the community. Bretz also argued McKnight is not a flight risk, either.

The June 25, 2022 shooting incident has led to two lawsuits against WeatherTech by Moore and Felicia Washington, a surviving family member who is the mother of Hightower’s daughter.

While Washington initially sued McKnight, she dropped him as a defendant in a new lawsuit that is aimed at WeatherTech. Moore and Washington are also suing a staffing company called Remedial Environmental Manpower. Their lawsuits alleged WeatherTech used the company to hire McKnight.

Following the shooting, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said the community has been “shattered by yet another act of senseless gun violence.” Former State Sen. Eric Mattson, D-Joliet, called for “real gun reform.”

McKnight had an altercation with Hightower and Moore over a watch that McKnight took from Moore, according to Will County prosecutors’ petition to deny McKnight’s release from jail.

Bolingbrook Police squad cars block the roadway at the WeatherTech complex on Saturday, June 25, 2022. Early reports indicated three people were shot and one person was killed.

Hightower and Moore had informed security staff that McKnight was armed with a gun, prosecutors said. Security videos showed showed McKnight shooting the three victims, prosecutors said.

Hightower died from his gunshot wounds. Moore suffered two shots to both legs and Thomas suffered a gunshot wound to the lower part of his body.

Officers recovered eight 9 mm shell casings at the scene.

McKnight had left the facility but officers learned a Lyft driver was going to pick him up in a neighborhood that was more than a mile northwest of WeatherTech, according to prosecutors.

Officers found McKnight in the backyard of a nearby residence and found a bag nearby containing a 9 mm handgun, prosecutors said. They also found Moore’s watch on McKnight.

McKnight later made a phone call, where he said, “I’m [going to] get put away, tell mom I love her,” prosecutors said.