Man charged with two slayings 10 days apart

Nicholas Samudio was taken into custody when he fled from a stolen Chrysler 300 that law enforcement officials tried to stop hours after the second deadly shooting on Feb. 26.

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Crime scene tape.

Nicholas Samudio has separately been indicted on a host of felony charges in two fatal shootings in February.

Sun-Times file

A man has been charged with two fatal shootings over 10 days earlier this year — targeting one victim during an apparent road rage attack and the other in a potential case of mistaken identity, according to a source.

Nicholas Samudio, 22, has been indicted on a host of felony charges in the Feb. 16 slaying of Humberto Marin-Garcia on Interstate 55 near Bridgeport and the Feb. 26 killing of Tomas Villa in North Lawndale.

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Nicholas Samudio

Chicago police

Samudio, a reputed member of the Latin Kings street gang, was taken into custody when he fled from a stolen Chrysler 300 that law enforcement officials tried to stop hours after the second shooting. Moses Maldonado, 21, Samudio’s alleged accomplice, was also arrested and charged with the killing.

On March 28, the case was superseded by an indictment charging Samudio with six counts of felony murder, court records show. Then on March 31, he was indicted on six more counts of murder, as well as felony counts of attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm in the Feb. 16 shooting on I-55 near Lock Street.

On March 29, before the second indictment was made public, the Illinois State Police released a statement saying Marin-Garcia had been found dead in a car in the northbound lanes of the expressway on the night of Feb. 16.

“The suspected shooter’s vehicle and passengers” were identified following “an extensive investigation,” the state police said in the statement.

The agency later assisted Chicago police officers in the pursuit that led to Samudio and Maldonado being taken into custody, according to the statement and court records.

A law enforcement source said Samudio was previously a suspect in a 2020 killing in McKinley Park, though he wasn’t charged.

State police began tracking Samudio and others after the first shooting in February, which was apparently sparked by a road-rage conflict that spilled onto the expressway, the source said. Villa was then targeted in the second shooting because his attackers misidentified the hat he was wearing and mistakenly believed he was associated with a rival gang.

Villa had just parked his car and was headed home when he walked behind the Chrysler 300 that Maldonado and Samudio were riding in, prosecutors said during Samudio’s bail hearing. Maldonado allegedly opened fire at Villa from the Chrysler’s open window, prompting Villa to take cover between cars in the 2600 block of West 18th Street.

Samudio then got out of the Chrysler and shot Villa multiple times, prosecutors said.

Later that evening, Chicago cops spotted the Chrysler and began a pursuit, prosecutors said. During the chase, Samudio was seen throwing an object from the car. Investigators found a .380-caliber handgun that matched shell casings found at the scene of Villa’s killing.

Samudio and Maldonado both fled on foot and were taken into custody after being shocked by state troopers using stun guns, according to prosecutors and court records.

Testing showed gunshot residue on a red Champion sweatshirt worn by Samudio that matched the clothing he was seen wearing at a liquor store shortly before the shooting.

Judge Barbara Dawkins called the shooting “a bold and brazen offense” and ordered both men held without bail.

Court records show Samudio has been arrested numerous time as an adult, but he’s never been convicted of a crime.

During Samudio’s March 1 court hearing, his public defender stated he had been diagnosed with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause mild to moderate mental and physical disabilities.

The public defender’s office later said that information was determined to be inaccurate after further discussions with Samudio’s family.

In an April 10 court filing, the office requested Samudio receive medical care while in custody at the jail for birth defects as a result of amniotic band syndrome, which occurs in the womb when the amniotic sac becomes tangled around the fetus and causes minor to severe deformities.

This article has been updated to reflect new information provided by attorneys for Nicholas Samudio on his physical condition.

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