Prosecutors decline to charge teen arrested in mass shooting at South Shore apartment

The 19-year-old man lives in the same apartment complex where two women were killed and three other people were wounded in an apparent robbery attempt.

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Chicago police work the scene where five people were shot, two of them fatally, in an apartment in the 2900 block of East 78th Street in the South Shore neighborhood on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

Chicago police work the scene where five people were shot, two of them fatally, in an apartment in the 2900 block of East 78th Street in the South Shore neighborhood on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Prosecutors have declined to charge a man identified as the person who burst into a South Shore apartment last month and opened fire during an apparent robbery attempt, killing a mother and her transgender daughter and wounding three others, including two other trans women.

Late on Jan. 26, three days after the mass shooting, Chicago police executed a warrant at the same apartment complex in the 2900 block of East 78th Street where the 19-year-old suspect also lives, according to an arrest report obtained through a public records request.

He had been identified in photo lineups as the person who forced his way into the apartment, demanded cash and shot the five victims, according to the report. He was arrested but ultimately released from custody on Jan. 29. The Sun-Times isn’t identifying the suspect because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

The arrest report shows felony charges weren’t brought by prosecutors and the case was marked as a continuing investigation. It was kicked back to police “pending further investigation.”

A spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office said prosecutors “did not approve or reject charges” in the case.

“After a review of the initial information brought to us by CPD, we informed police that additional evidence was needed before a final charging decision could be made,” the spokesperson said.

A police spokesperson would only say the investigation remains “open and active.”

The suspect has two pending cases in Cook County court, a felony count of residential burglary and a misdemeanor count of domestic battery, records show.

A police report for the mass shooting shows two people “kicked in the front door and began shooting” about 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 23. A witness told investigators that two males ran north from the scene wearing green camouflage.

Unique Banks, a 20-year-old transgender woman, and her mother Alexsandra Olmo, 43, were both killed. They both lived in the apartment where they were killed, Banks’ father has told the Sun-Times.

A law enforcement source said Olmo’s boyfriend and two transgender women were wounded, one of whom drove to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant.

Banks’ father, Omar Burgos, said he hasn’t heard from police investigators or prosecutors, noting that it was news to him that a suspect had been arrested and released without charges. “That’s messed up,” said Burgos, who lives in Florida and had dreamed of bringing his daughter there to live with him.

He said he traveled to Chicago to attend his daughter’s funeral, but he wasn’t able to glean much information about the circumstances of the shooting or the investigation.

“Something must’ve happened there because that’s a weird story,” he said in light of the news of the arrest. “There’s more to the puzzle.”

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