The son of a Belmont Cragin man who was shot during an immigration raid of his home on Monday pleaded not guilty to gun charges that apparently were the reason federal authorities targeted the Northwest Side residence.
Felix Torres Jr., 23, arrived at the Cook County courthouse around 10 a.m. Wednesday and entered a not guilty plea to a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in front of Judge Timothy Joyce.
Torres did not speak to reporters and his lawyer, Thomas Hallock, said he did not know why immigration agents would have targeted Torres. That’s because the elder Torres and his wife both are legal U.S. residents, and Felix Jr. and his siblings all are U.S.-born, too, Hallock said.
Torres’ father, also named Felix Torres, was shot in the arm after the elder Torres pointed a gun at agents during a raid at the family’s home in the 6100 block of West Grand, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE agents said they recovered two guns from the house. Hallock said Torres Sr. did not have a a gun, though he does have a valid license to own one.
“I’m at a loss for why ICE would have any jurisdiction over him in the first place. His parents are lawful permanent residents of the United States, and their children were all born here,” Hallock said. “My client is a U.S. citizen, with all the rights of any citizen.
“That leads me to conclude that (ICE) had bad intelligence, and they erroneously believed my client was not a citizen.”
To date, neither Torres nor his son have been charged with any crime related to the raid. Torres Jr. was held by Chicago Police and transferred to a federal holding facility Monday but was released Monday afternoon.
In a post on the ICE Twitter feed on Tuesday, the agency said the raid was a “gang op” and that “a person at the home pointed a gun at agents. An agent then shot the person.” A second post said the agency “regularly conducts gang enforcement operations across the country to enhance public safety.”
Hallock said Torres was not a gang member. The weapons charge stems from a traffic stop several weeks ago when Torres was stopped in a car with several other passengers and a handgun, Hallock said. Neither Torres nor any of the passengers would lay claim to ownership of the gun, so Torres and another passenger were charged, Hallock said.
Torres has been free on bond and has not missed any court dates, so he shouldn’t have had any pending warrants at the time of the raid, Hallock said.