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Man charged with killing former friend during fight in Brighton Park

Sun-Times file photo

Bail was denied Monday for a man accused of killing his former friend during a fight last week in Brighton Park.

Eduardo Venegas, 18, was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 23-year-old Rigoberto Rodriguez on Friday.

Officers responded to the shooting about 4 p.m. in the 3000 block of West 39th Place and found Rodriguez shot multiple times, including in the head, neck and torso, according to Chicago police.

Just prior to the shooting, Rodriguez had been over at Venegas’ home a block east, Cook County prosecutors said.

Eduardo Venegas | Chicago police
Eduardo Venegas | Chicago police

The two men had previously been friends and had known each other for several years. However, Rodriguez and another person had jumped Venegas and stolen his necklace a few weeks earlier, prosecutors said.

The two argued after Venegas told Rodriguez to leave his home Friday afternoon, prosecutors said. Both men agreed to fight outside and walked across the street to a gangway.

During the brawl, Venegas pulled a .40-caliber handgun and fired it seven times, prosecutors said. Before walking home, Venegas took the dying man’s necklace.

A witness reported seeing Venegas walk back to his house after hearing the gunshots, prosecutors said.

Rodriguez, of Chicago Lawn, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died within the hour.

Investigators searched Venegas’ home and found blood, Rodriguez’s necklace and a .40-caliber handgun that matched shell casings found at the scene of the shooting, prosecutors said.

Venegas was taken into custody and additionally charged with armed robbery, according to court documents.

In police custody, prosecutors said Venegas admitted to fatally shooting Rodriguez. An arrest report listed Venegas as a documented member of the Two Six street gang.

Assistant Public Defender Marijane Placek said she thought the shooting sounded like self-defense and said Venegas’ mother had asked him to remove Rodriguez, a “gang member,” from the home before their altercation.

Venegas could post bond if bail was set at $10,000, she said.

Judge Michael Clancy ordered Venegas held without bail, citing a pending stolen vehicle case that he was out on bond for at the time of the shooting and a juvenile criminal history that included a previous weapons charge.

Venegas’ next court date was set for Dec. 28.