Evanston police say an officer spotted a man walking near Nichols Middle School Monday morning with what turned out to be a loaded shotgun in his backpack.

Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says the officer on patrol about 10:45 a.m. noticed that the green backpack Hari Lele,20, of 1228 Forest Ave., was carry in the 900 block of Greenleaf St. had something inside that was stretching the bag’s fabric.

Dugan says the officer had had previous contacts with Lele and had information he was involved in narcotics sales in the area.

When Lele observed the officer, Dugan says, he immediately stopped and started to walk in the opposite direction. The officer drove towards Lele, but he began to increase his pace away from the officer.

Dugan says when the officer finally stopped Lele, he was nervous and shaking and denied that he owned the backpack he was carrying.

When the officer searched the backpack, Dugan says, he found the loaded 12 gauge shotgun.

Lele was taken into custody and charged with unlawful use of a weapon with no firearm owner’s identification card and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Related story

Drug arrest at home near lakefront (3/15/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Outstanding police work!

    Outstanding police work! Thank you so much for being there, for knowing something about this young man who is part of our community, for keeping the situation calm and not escalating it, and averting what could have been a tragedy. Many, many thanks!

    1. repeat offender
      If this person is not jailed, HE will be the one causing another tragedy. This is not his first arrest. It seems that he has no “adult” guidance anywhere or anyone responsible for his behavior, not matter what his age is. He needs some kind of help behind bars….as he can’t seem to get the meaning of his actions.

  2. NOW can we get the courts to enforce the laws?
    If that is a picture of the gun, then it is obvious that
    1) the barrel is under the legal limit of 18″
    2) stock has been cut down to a pistol grip

    Other laws violated (and this is off the top of my head)…
    – No FOID card
    – Concealed weapon (does he have a Concealed carry permit? Does he even care?)
    – Loaded firearm not encased properly for transport

    Forget trying to enact new laws that will not be obeyed anyway, just enforce what we have now and put this person in jail.

  3. Wait for calls about profiling

    Soon someone(s) will plead that he should be released because  the police were profiling him.

  4. Thank you EPD!

    Very disturbing that this occured right by a school, in light of the recent tragic incident involving children being shot during recess. Even if this person didn't have malicious intent, imagine if the loaded gun had gone off and killed a child or any innocent bystander. This person is/was a drug dealer; why is he walking the streets with a loaded gun? Thank you, Evanston Police, for stopping this from becoming a potentially tragic scenario. I imagine the person will be found to have mental/emotional issues–in which case, fine, put him in a secure psychiatric hospital, just get him and his drugs and loaded guns off the streets where my children walk, play, ride their bikes and go to school!

  5. He WAS on House Arrest awhile back.

    He goes by the name of HUGHIE and when he was apparently on House Arrest late Spring/early Summer as he had an ankle bracelet and constantly posted pics of it to FB and how annoying it was.  I guess the bracelet came off and he deleted all those posts as well.

    Police have known him for a LONG time but the courts just keep giving these kids 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chances. There is really only so much they can do.  

    He apparently has a $75K Bail, I'm very surprised it was not NO BAIL.  Oh well.


    1. Thanks for the info. Indeed

      Thanks for the info. Indeed his Facebook page is public and one of his most recent posts was venting about being angry. Disturbing to think of someone in that state of mind walking around–by a school no less–with a loaded gun. There are actually many hostile and drug-related posts and videos on his Facebook.

    2. Don’t post bail

      The sad thing will be if his parents bail him out. I heard they're decent people but I've just seen so many times, parents bailing out kids. It's got to be gut wrenching for sure to see your kid going down this path though.

  6. I walk past Nichols
    I walk past Nichols frequently with my young kids. Monday morning we had a pediatrician appointment.

    This idiot lives in a home valued at more than $2 million according to Zillow. Given his record, including police activity at home, can we call this a nuisance property? Or is that just for properties near the high school?

    Hard to believe this guy won’t be going away for a long time. But its not hard to imagine that his parents surely have the financial resources to afford a great defense team for their precious child.

    Mom and dad, if you do pony up to keep your son out of stripes, please reserve plenty of cash to put him in a residential rehabilitation facility permanently, and very very far away from Evanston (I hear Seychelles is nice).

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