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Argument, struggle over gun led to man’s murder in Austin: prosecutors

Tyler Perkins, 17, has been charged as an adult for the fall murder of 20-year-old Ricard Soward in the 200 block of North Latrobe Ave.

A judge denied bail for a man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding a bystander July 25, 2020, in South Shore.
A 17-year-old boy has been charged with a fatal shooting Sept, 26, 2020, in the 200 block of North Latrobe Avenue.
Adobe Stock Photo

A 17-year-old boy killed a man in Austin after the pair argued and struggled over a gun, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.

Tyler Perkins fired two shots as he wrestled Ricard Soward for control of a .40-caliber handgun on Sept. 26, prosecutors said.

Perkins, who has been charged as an adult, then stood over Soward as he lie wounded in the street and allegedly fired at least 10 more times.

Soward, 20, suffered 12 gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene, in the 200 block of North Latrobe Avenue.

A fanny pack that Soward was wearing when he was killed contained a loaded .380-caliber handgun, but witnesses never saw him take the weapon out during the fight, prosecutors said.

Perkins and Soward had been a part of a larger group of friends that left a club in the city around 4 a.m. that morning, prosecutors said.

The two arrived on the Latrobe Avenue block in separate vehicles, but began arguing with each other outside a home, possibly over a relationship Perkins was having with the mother of Soward’s child, prosecutors said.

Multiple people saw Perkins waving around a gun as he argued with the unarmed Soward, prosecutors said. Soward rushed for the gun, causing both men to struggle and fall against a car before they tumbled onto the street, prosecutors said. That’s when the first two shots rang out.

Police couldn’t find witnesses who’d cooperate with their murder investigation until they received an anonymous tip in December identifying Perkins as the shooter, prosecutors said.

The tip helped investigators track down others who were on the block at the time of the shooting, including several witnesses who identified Perkins as the gunman and later testified before a grand jury, prosecutors said.

An arrest warrant against Perkins was issued earlier this month. He was taken into custody for Soward’s murder on Tuesday.

Perkins is a high school junior who lives with his father, as assistant public defender told Judge John F. Lyke Jr. Wednesday.

“I would also point out that the victim did have a loaded weapon on him,” the defense attorney added.

Lyke ordered Perkins held without bail.

“To allegedly stand over someone and pump 10 bullets in, for a total of 12 bullets, shocks the conscience,” the judge said.

Perkins is expected back in court April 20.

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