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Man helped block traffic in scheme to find gang rivals, leading to Brighton Park murder: prosecutors

Roberto Rojas was arrested Wednesday after he was identified as one of the people who shot and killed 20-year-old Fhee Hernandez-Castillo in the 4700 block of South Rockwell Avenue.

A man faces murder charges in connection with a June 11, 2021 shooting in Brighton Park.
A man faces murder charges in connection with a June 11, 2021 shooting in Brighton Park.
Adobe Stock Photo

A 19-year-old man was denied bail Saturday after he allegedly played an “integral part” in a Brighton Park neighborhood scheme checking cars for rival gang members, leading to a deadly shooting earlier this summer.

Roberto Rojas was arrested Wednesday and faces a felony count of first-degree murder for the June 11 attack, authorities said.

Rojas joined three accomplices, including one who was a juvenile and another armed with a gun, in a plot to stop vehicles in the 4700 block of South Rockwell Avenue to ensure no rival gang members were driving in their territory, Cook County prosecutors said during a bond hearing.

About 9 p.m. that night, Fhee Hernandez-Castillo was heading to a graduation party with a boyfriend when Rojas’ group stopped their vehicle, according to prosecutors and Chicago police.

The juvenile allegedly stood near the passenger-side window and asked about the gang affiliation of the driver, who repeatedly said he wasn’t involved, prosecutors said.

Rojas and an accomplice allegedly walked up the driver side of the car. One of the accomplices began pounding the vehicle and shouting “SD,” prosecutors said, with the group positioning themselves to prevent the victims from driving away.

After someone shouted the “car was no good,” Rojas moved away from the vehicle as a gunman began firing into it, prosecutors said.

Hernandez-Castillo, 20, ducked but was shot in the back of her head, prosecutors said.

Her boyfriend, 19, drove to a nearby gas station and called 911. Hernandez-Castillo was then taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The encounter was caught on a home surveillance video, which showed the group walking up and down the block — at times, with their faces “extremely visible” — for more than an hour before the shooting, prosecutors said. An officer familiar with Rojas identified him from the video and in still images.

Rojas, a lifelong Chicagoan who’s enrolled in high school classes, is on probation for a 2019 juvenile adjudication possession of a stolen vehicle, prosecutors said.

“He stood in front of that vehicle, putting the individual behind the wheel in a situation where they either ran Mr. Rojas over or stayed there and became a victim of a crime, and as such he was an integral part of this plan and scheme,” said Judge Charles Beach before ordering Rojas held without bail.

Rojas is expected back in court Monday.