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Man gets 99 years for 2009 Halloween murder

A reputed gang member has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for a shooting on Halloween 2009 that left one man dead and another seriously injured.

Andrew Ruiz

Andrew Ruiz, 33, was previously convicted of first-degree murder while armed with a firearm, and aggravated battery with a firearm, according to a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

During the early morning hours of October 31, 2009, two stepbrothers were stopped at a red light while driving east on Grand Avenue when a car driven by Ruiz and containing several female gang members pulled up next to them, according to prosecutors.

Ruiz rolled down his window, pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and fired several rounds, according to prosecutors. The driver was struck in the shoulder blade and the passenger was hit in the neck and immediately paralyzed.

Ruiz, who the Chicago Sun-Times reported at the time of his trial is a paraplegic from his own brush with a bullet, operated the vehicle using “sticks” to control the gas and brake pedals.

The men tried to drive off after the shooting but lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a light pole, according to prosecutors.

Both victims were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. The passenger, 23-year-old Manuel “Manny” Roman, a Humboldt Park barber, died of his injuries in December 2009.

Police said at the time they appeared to be innocent victims.

After a “lengthy investigation,” prosecutors said, detectives found the three female gang members who were in Ruiz’s car on the night of the shooting and all three testified against him at trial.

Cook County Judge Thomas Hennelly sentenced Ruiz to the 99-year prison term during a hearing Friday. He is also awaiting trial on a separate murder charge stemming from a June 2010 shooting.