Thaddeus “TJ” Jimenez, who won $25 million in a wrongful-conviction lawsuit, sometimes lured gang recruits with up to $50,000, guns and cars, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jimenez, a leader of the Simon City Royals street gang, is now accused of shooting a former gang member who refused to come back into the fold. He was ordered held without bail Wednesday.
Jimenez, 36, pointed an electric blue gun at the 22-year-old man, saying he “should shoot him right there,” prosecutors said.
Blue is the color of the Simon City Royals, Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto noted, and the victim has “steadfastly” refused to rejoin the gang.
The man was in Albany Park visiting a friend and went to move his car at 11:20 a.m. Monday when Jimenez pulled up in his convertible gray Mercedes-Benz with Jose Roman, a fellow Simon City Royal, Scaduto said.
Jimenez pointed his weapon at the former gang member’s head, then aimed lower and fired at the man’s legs, shattering his femurs, Scaduto said.
Jimenez, who driver’s license is suspended, then sped off, Scaduto said.
Officers in an unmarked squad car spotted Jimenez speeding and tailed him to the 3800 block of North St. Louis, where he jumped from the car with a .380-caliber handgun, authorities said.
Jimenez, who goes by the nickname “Batman,” threw away the gun and was chased down about a block away in the 3800 block of North Elston, according to a police report.
Roman, 22, was arrested nearby minutes later. He tossed a black rifle he had been holding as he ran in a gangway, Scaduto said. That weapon had 23 live rounds inside, Scaduto said.
While in the lockup in the Albany Park police district, Jimenez allegedly jumped onto a concrete bench and yelled “Royal Love!” multiple times.
The victim identified Jimenez as his shooter, Scaduto said.
Jimenez was arrested for murder in 1993 when he was just 13. In 2009, his conviction was vacated after he spent 16 years in prison. Three years later, he was awarded $25 million in a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the city.
Since he’s been out of prison, Jimenez, of Des Plaines, has been in and out of jail.
He is awaiting trial for a 2013 DUI. In that incident, Jimenez allegedly drove into a tree, leaving a female passenger with skull and facial fractures. His license was suspended as a result.
Roman, who was also ordered held without bail in connection with the shooting Monday, has two pending weapons cases.
The “bold and brazen” shooting “never should have happened,” Scaduto said.
Judge Peggy Chiampas additionally described the violence as “egregious.”
Chiampas warned Jimenez and Roman that they cannot contact the victim or have any gang affiliation while they await trial in Cook County Jail.
“Do you understand?” the judge asked.
“Absolutely,” Jimenez said in a slight scoffing tone.
“Love you TJ,” Jimenez’s mother yelled as her son was led away by sheriff’s officers Wednesday.
Jimenez’s attorney, Scott Frankel, said his client is married with two children and is employed by a towing company.