Randy Durr was an “A and B student” before graduating from Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts in 2021, worked at McDonald’s and UPS and belonged to a South Side church where he served as an usher, according to his family.
“Randy has been raised to know the difference between right and wrong,” his mother says.
But last week, according to authorities, Durr held up an undercover federal agent at gunpoint during a firearms transaction. The 19-year-old now faces a robbery charge in federal court.
Durr’s family members filed letters with the court Monday asking for him to be released from custody until his trial.
“Wrong is wrong and right is right and in this case my son was wrong, but one thing for sure I know, I did not raise my son to be what he appear[s] to be in court,” his mother, Yamashita Durr, wrote.
“My husband and I would like to apologize to the court for the decisions Randy has implemented and hope and pray our son learn[s] from his failures,” she said.
Durr’s mother said he continues to struggle with grief over the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old friend in 2019 in Dolton.
On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim said Durr must remain in custody but recommended that corrections officials segregate him from people awaiting or serving prison sentences.
Durr’s lawyer didn’t return calls seeking comment, and his parents couldn’t be reached.
Chicago Police Department
According to a federal complaint against Durr, he sold an undercover agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives a 9mm Polymer80 handgun on Nov. 7 and another on Nov. 9. Those weapons are often referred to as “ghost guns” — untraceable firearms without serial numbers, assembled from components bought online.
On Nov. 16, the agent arranged to buy four more guns from Durr and they met in a grocery parking lot near 38th Street and Martin Luther King Drive, the complaint said. Durr got in the agent’s vehicle. He handed a cell phone to the agent, who talked to a man who said he was bringing the guns and was 10 minutes away, according to the complaint.
The agent started counting out the “buy money” in front of Durr, the complaint said.
Hidden video cameras recorded Durr as he then pulled a Glock handgun from his jacket, pointed the pistol at the agent with his finger on the trigger and grabbed the cash, according to the complaint. Durr is accused of threatening to shoot the agent, who got out of the vehicle and walked away.
Durr got in a black Chevrolet Impala, which sped off, hitting vehicles driven by law enforcement officials who had been watching the undercover operation, according to the complaint.
Officials chased Durr and lost sight of the Impala as it raced south on Lake Shore Drive but were able to track him down at a woman’s South Side apartment. They arrested him and recovered a Glock pistol and most of the stolen money, whose serial numbers were pre-recorded, according to the complaint. Durr admitted he committed the holdup and that he hid the loaded Glock in a garbage can, officials said.
The undercover agent wasn’t identified in court records.
Underscoring the danger of such operations, two ATF agents and a Chicago police officer were wounded last year when Eugene McLaurin, thinking they were rival gang members, shot into their unmarked Chrysler 300 on the ramp on to northbound I-57 near 119th Street in Morgan Park, federal prosecutors said. McLaurin, 30, is awaiting trial on federal charges.
In 2018, an undercover ATF agent was doing surveillance of a gang’s territory near 43rd Street and Hermitage Avenue in Back of the Yards when Ernesto Godinez shot him in the head, causing permanent damage to his left eye, federal prosecutors said. Godinez, 32, allegedly thought the agent was a rival gang member. He’s serving a 200-month prison sentence for the shooting.
U.S. District Court