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Gang members believed they were targeting rival when firing at SUV, wounding 2-year-old: prosecutors.

David Contreras, 18, and Rodolfo Irigoyen, 21, were arrested Wednesday after officers saw them in the Honda Accord used in the attack, Chicago police said.

Chicago police work the scene where a 2-year-old girl was shot in the leg in the 2800 block of West 26th St. in the Little Village neighborhood, Friday, May 14, 2021.
Chicago police work the scene where a 2-year-old girl was shot in the leg in the 2800 block of West 26th St. in the Little Village neighborhood, Friday, May 14, 2021.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

A group of Two-Six gang members believed they were targeting rival Latin Kings when they followed an SUV and shot at the vehicle near the Leighton Criminal Courthouse last week.

Instead, they struck and wounded a 2-year-old girl who was riding in the SUV with her parents and 9-month-old sister, Cook County prosecutors said Friday.

The toddler is recovering at Comer Children’s Hospital and will need surgery on her knee cap and physical therapy, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

David Contreras, 18, allegedly admitted to firing at the SUV on May 14 after he was arrested this week and charged with attempted murder. The 9-mm handgun believed to have been used in the crime was found under the seat of the Honda Accord Contreras and Rodolfo Irigoyen were riding in at the time of their arrest, Murphy said.

Irigoyen, who admitted he had been driving his mother’s Accord during the shooting, has been charged with aggravated battery, but the 21-year-old may also be charged with attempted murder, Murphy told Judge Charles Beach.

A preliminary analysis of the 9-mm handgun showed a “high confidence correlation” to the shell casings found at the crime scene and Contreras said the weapon was used in the shooting, Murphy said.

A third gang member who was in the Accord at the time of the shooting and gave the order to open fire is also being sought by police, Murphy said.

“I’ll note that this happened at 6 p.m. when a lot of civilians — normal people — are going to and from work, with their families, going to dinner, [and] are out on the roads,” Beach said before ordering Contreras and Irigoyen held without bail. “This put so many people in jeopardy.”

The wounded girl’s family had been traveling north on California Boulevard in a 2017 Buick Encore and did not know they were being followed by Two-Six gang members in a minivan and the Accord, Murphy said.

The uncharged co-defendant in the Accord with Irigoyen and Contreras was allegedly communicating with his fellow gang members in the minivan with his cellphone as both vehicles pursued the SUV.

When the family stopped at a traffic light at 26th Street, the uncharged co-defendant told Irigoyen to pull up to the SUV and ordered Contreras to “shoot, shoot, shoot,” Murphy said.

Contreras extended his handgun out the Accord’s window and fired at least five rounds, Murphy said.

After the family in the SUV pulled over on 26th Street and saw that the 2-year-old was wounded, they drove to Mount Sinai Hospital.

The girl was the youngest of 48 people shot last weekend, the most violent of the year so far, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ records.

Authorities were able to track the Accord to an address in the Back of the Yards after part of its license plate was captured by a Chicago police POD camera, Murphy said.

Contreras and Irigoyen live with their parents, an assistant public defender said Friday. Irigoyen works for a food products supplier and Contreras works for a medical supply company, the defense attorney added.

Both men are expected back in court on May 28.