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Man charged in killing of 2 teens out buying candy at South Shore gas station

Laroy Battle, 19, allegedly shot the teens after they noted how tall he was, Deputy Police Chief Brendan Deenihan said.

A 14-year-old boy was shot August 26, 2021 in West Pullman.
A man was charged with killing two teenage boys June 20, 2020, in South Shore.
Adobe Stock Photo

An Englewood man is accused of killing two teenagers last weekend after they noted how tall he was while they bought candy at a gas station in South Shore.

Laroy Battle, 19, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance, Deputy Chief Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Thursday.

Jasean Francis, 17, and Charles Riley, 16, were “very good kids from really excellent families,” Deenihan said. They had gone to a gas station Saturday afternoon in the 7900 block of South Luella with a third friend to buy candy when they ran into Battle.

Though they didn’t know Battle, who is 6-foot-3, they commented on how tall he was, Deenihan said, before they bought their candy and left the store.

That’s when Battle followed them out and fired nine rounds at the teenagers, striking Francis and Riley, Deenihan said. Both boys were pronounced dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center. The third teen was not struck, Chicago police said.

Battle was arrested Wednesday at a motel in west suburban Schiller Park, after community members identified surveillance images of him to police, Deenihan said. Battle allegedly admitted that he was the man seen on camera but never offered a motive in the shooting.

Battle has three previous arrests and one previous conviction for unlawful use of a weapon, for which he was sentenced to probation, Deenihan said.

“They asked him how tall he was, and hoped to be that tall some day,” Deenihan said. “Obviously, we’ll never see the full growth of these poor children.”

Riley and Francis were among 12 minors who were shot, five of them fatally, during a bloody Father’s Day weekend that saw 104 total people shot.

Battle is due in bond court Friday.

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