A 17-year-old boy facing a murder charge was ordered by leaders in the La Raza street gang to drive around looking for rival gang members to target when he was involved in a fatal shooting last summer, prosecutors allege.
Christopher Villagomez, of the Back of the Yards neighborhood, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 24-year-old Christian Rodriguez, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Villagomez, who was shackled when he appear in court Tuesday, was denied bail by Judge David Navarro.
Prosecutors said Villagomez and another La Raza gang member were sent out by gang leaders with instructions to shoot members of a rival gang on June 11, 2017.
They armed themselves with an AR-15 rifle and drove to the 4800 block of South Winchester Avenue in a green sedan that was reported stolen from Cicero, authorities said. When they spotted Rodriguez, who they knew was a member of a rival gang, Villagomez stopped the sedan at the mouth of a nearby alley.
Shortly after 5 p.m., a La Raza gang member got out of the sedan with the rifle and opened fire on Rodriguez, striking him multiple times, according to authorities.
Rodriguez, of the West Lawn neighborhood, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died less than two hours later, Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
After the shooting, Villagomez drove the shooter about a mile away, where they abandoned the vehicle, prosecutors said. The shooting was recorded by a police-managed POD camera and their path from the shooting was recorded by multiple surveillance cameras.
Witnesses identified Villagomez to detectives as one of the people involved based on still images taken from surveillance video, prosecutors said. At least five of those witnesses were Deering District tactical unit officers who had “prior gang contact” with Villagomez.
Prosecutors said Villagomez gave a recorded confession of his role in the June shooting while in the presence of his mother and detectives.
Villagomez’s attorney said that the boy was only a sophomore in high school, despite being 17. He said his client had struggled with school attendance in the past, but was enrolled and in school when he was taken into custody. He added that Villagomez has since left the La Raza gang.
Villagomez’s arrest report showed he was taken into custody at his school Friday.
His next court date was scheduled for March 30.