Lawyer: James Gonnigan accidentally fatally shot ‘dear friend’ Marsalis Holman

James Gonnigan / Photo from Cook County sheriff's office
James Gonnigan / Photo from Cook County sheriff’s office

Homicide Watch Chicago Editor

James Gonnigan was “playing” with Marsalis Holman when he accidentally fatally shot him in the head Sunday night at their North Lawndale home, prosecutors said.

On Sunday, Gonnigan took a gun from his home in the 1300 block of South Kolin Avenue and told his girlfriend that somebody tried to rob him, said Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn.

Others in the house reported hearing Gonnigan and Holman, 20, talking and laughing in the kitchen — then a single gunshot, Quinn said.

After the shooting, Gonnigan ran into a bedroom and told his girlfriend and her acquaintance that he shot Holman, Quinn said. The group found Holman lying in a pool of blood and Gonnigan’s uncle called 911, prosecutors said.

Holman, who also lived in the home, was shot in the left temple and had the bullet lodged in his brain, Quinn said. Paramedics took him to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was declared dead at 10:52 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Police found Gonnigan in the living room with five .38-caliber bullets and he was taken into custody, Quinn said. Gonnigan told detectives he and Holman were playing in the kitchen when he pointed the gun at Holman’s head and accidentally shot him, prosecutors said.

Scene where Marsalis Holman was shot / Photo from NVP
Scene where Marsalis Holman was shot / Photo from NVP

Gonnigan, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and appeared in court for a Wednesday bond hearing wearing blue jeans and a navy blue Chicago Cubs sweatshirt.

Gonnigan’s lawyer described Gonnigan and Holman as “dear friends.”

He was as close to a family member as you can have without being a blood relative,” Gonnigan’s lawyer said.

The lawyer noted that Gonnigan, a lifelong Chicago resident, stayed on the scene and has a 2-year-old son and another child on the way. He is a high school graduate who attended college for a year and currently works at a food processing plant in southwest suburban Broadview.

On Wednesday, Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered Gonnigan held on $100,000 bond and issued a next court date of Jan. 26.

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