Man charged in murder of woman who was on her way to buy lottery tickets

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A 26-year-old man was charged with murder for allegedly starting a gunfight that claimed the life of a woman who was on her way to buy lottery tickets in Austin.

Melinda Crump, 54, was walking to a convenience store on the evening of Dec. 18 when Travis Andrews fired multiple shots at someone else in the 4900 block of West Gladys Ave., Cook County prosecutors said Friday.

The person who was targeted returned fire, striking Crump in the abdomen, prosecutors said.

Crump later died.

Judge Mary Marubio ordered Andrews held without bail, noting that even though Crump was not the intended target, Andrews’ actions led to the woman’s death.

Marubio barred Andrews from contacting witnesses in the case, including his girlfriend, as he awaits trial.

Authorities do not know the identity of the other person involved in the gunfight, prosecutors said.

Before the shooting, Andrews and his girlfriend were captured on surveillance cameras standing two blocks block east from where Crump was gunned down, prosecutors said.

The couple was arguing with someone inside a car, prosecutors said.

Andrews allegedly told detectives following his arrest Wednesday that he was on the block to buy “leaf” and had gotten into an argument with the drug dealer over the price.

Andrews said his girlfriend told him a female inside the dealer’s car had threatened her with a gun, so he went and got his .380-caliber revolver from his mother’s house, but when he returned the car was gone, prosecutors said.

Andrews said he then saw someone standing down the block, but could not see who it was. So he allegedly fired two shots in that person’s direction and then heard two gunshots in response. Andrews said he later met up with his girlfriend and eventually took the gun back to his mother’s house, prosecutors said.

Evidence technicians recovered four shell casings for .45-caliber ammunition from where the unknown person fired shots, prosecutors said.

Andrews identified himself in surveillance footage, prosecutors said.

The second shooter wasn’t captured on the surveillance cameras, prosecutors said.

Andrews has a prior conviction for aggravated battery and robbery and has several misdemeanors, prosecutors said. He also has repeatedly failed to show up for his court hearings for his previous cases, prosecutors said.

Andrews most recently worked at a food processing plant, an assistant public defender said.

His partner and their children have been living at shelters for several months, but were recently approved for housing, the defense attorney added.

Andrews is expected back in court Feb. 9.