Man sentenced to 26 years in prison for Louis Joliet Mall shootout

Federal prosecutor said man attempted to murder officers in 2016 incident

A Morris man was sentenced to 26 years in prison for his role in a drug sting turned shootout outside the Louis Joliet Mall in 2016.

Adan Godinez pleaded guilty in 2018 to drug possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to U.S. Attorney spokesman Joseph Fitzpatrick and court records.

Godinez and his brother Fernando Godinez, a Cicero resident, were both arrested following a gunfight outside the Louis Joliet Mall on Aug. 30, 2016.

The two men brought two kilograms of cocaine to an undercover Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force officer who had arrived before them, according to DEA Special Agent Craig Schwartz.

Fernando Godinez parked his car near where the agent was waiting in the parking lot between JC Penney and Macy’s and Adan Godinez got out, got in the agent’s car and handed him four packages of cocaine, Schwartz wrote in a federal court affidavit.

“Shortly thereafter law enforcement officers attempted to arrest Adan and Fernando. During the approach to arrest them, Adan saw the officers approaching, got out of the (agent’s) vehicle, pulled out a firearm (from his waistband) and shot at the officers,” Schwartz wrote.

Agents returned fire, wounding Adan Godinez in the leg.

Former Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton at the time said the undercover “buy-bust” went bad in the parking lot between JC Penney and Macy’s on the northwest side of the mall.

At the time, Hani Hamdan and his girlfriend were leaving work when they “heard shots and glass breaking about 15 cars away.”

“I held her down between two cars (and) more glass shattered. I saw the window of a white Porsche get shot out,” Hamdan said. “Then the cops started swarming ... yelling ‘Get down!’”

On Feb. 20, 2018, Adan Godinez pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and discharging a firearm, court records show.

On the same day, Fernando Godinez pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and a firearm. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 22.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Rothblatt recommended roughly 27 years imprisonment for Adan Godinez.

“During the shootout, bullets shattered windows and windshields of vehicles parked nearby. Miraculously, no law enforcement officers or civilians were injured,” Rothblatt said in a sentencing memo.

Rothblatt said Adan Godinez’s attempted distribution of large quantities of cocaine endangered the community at large. He said Adan Godinez’s “attempts to murder law enforcement officials endangered brave officers performing their duty and innocent citizens in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He also said Adan Godinez lied to a judge about his former attorneys’ conduct to avoid responsibility for his conduct.

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver covers crime and courts for The Herald-News