Prosecutors: Argument over gambling winnings led to deadly Streamwood shooting

  • Salvatore Scardino

    Salvatore Scardino

 
 
Updated 4/25/2022 5:41 PM

A disagreement between friends over gambling winnings Friday escalated to murder, Cook County authorities said Monday.

Salvatore Scardino, 27, of the 0-100 block of North Victoria Lane in Streamwood, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deadly shooting of his 31-year-old neighbor, Kwemi Hardwick. Scardino was ordered held without bail Monday, after his initial court appearance.

 

Authorities say Hardwick was shot in the middle of his back, in his right cheek and above his left ear. They say Scardino told police he acted in self-defense but also admitted firing the first shots "as the victim's back was to him and as the victim was leaving the room."

The disagreement over the gambling winnings started at a Streamwood sports bar, where, prosecutors say, employees had to intervene when Scardino "aggressively got up" and stood chest-to-chest with Hardwick. Employees asked Scardino to leave the bar, which he did, prosecutors said.

The bar's general manager later walked Hardwick outside and observed Scardino yelling and waving his hands, prosecutors said.

At the same time, a witness who was leaving a nearby restaurant saw a man yelling in the direction of the sports bar. The witness reported seeing the man pull a handgun from his waistband and wave it in the air, according to prosecutors.

The witness reported the incident to Bartlett police about 7:44 p.m. Friday, describing a man who matched Scardino's description, prosecutors said.

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About 9:41 p.m. Friday, police received a 911 call about a man near Scardino and Hardwick's apartment buildings yelling "come on out," but the caller could not describe the man, prosecutors said.

Hardwick, who the general manager described as "in good spirits," later returned to the sports bar with his dog but was denied entry. Video shows Hardwick leaving the bar about 10:16 p.m. in his car. Witnesses said Hardwick did not appear to have a gun and was not behaving aggressively, prosecutors said.

About 10:34 p.m., Scardino called 911 to report his neighbor broke into his house, that he "came in acting crazy" and Scardino had "to put him down," prosecutors said.

About the same time, another neighbor reported gunshots. She said a bullet came through her wall and landed on the kitchen floor, according to prosecutors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Police arrived to find Hardwick's vehicle parked and running in the driveway, with the dog in the back seat, prosecutors said.

Authorities say Scardino later told police Hardwick entered his house and that he defended himself, adding, "I shot him."

Officers found Hardwick face down and unresponsive. They recovered a 9 mm Smith and Wesson handgun, a magazine and four spent cartridge casings, prosecutors said.

According to authorities, "there were no indications or signs of a struggle within the apartment" and "no other weapons were recovered."

Prosecutors say that after Scardino was read his Miranda rights, he "acknowledged that after the victim was shot and incapacitated on the ground, instead of rendering aid or calling for assistance," he shot Hardwick again "to end his suffering." Scardino next appears in court on May 20.

A GoFundMe campaign for Hardwick's funeral expenses was created by his wife and family Sunday. By Monday afternoon, it had raised $5,157 of its $30,000 goal.

"As some of you may know, on Friday, April 22, 2022, we lost our beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend," Hardwick's family wrote. "Kwemi was funny, outgoing, open-hearted, and a fantastic soul. He was exceptional; he touched the lives of every single person he crossed paths with.

"We are devastated by Kwemi's passing; this was an unexpected incident," the post continues.

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