19-Year-old Man held without Bail for Allegedly Gunning Down Two Teen Boys at South Side Gas Station

(Sun Times Wire) A 19-year-old Englewood man was ordered held without bail Friday for allegedly gunning down two teenage boys after the victims’ friend commented on his tall physique at a South Side gas station.

Laroy Battle faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deadly shooting, which left 17-year-old Jasean Francis and 16-year-old Charles Riley dead Saturday.

The two boys were among five minors killed during a violent Father’s Day weekend in which 104 people were shot.

Francis, Riley and their friend had just returned from a trip to the Chicago Ridge Mall with the friend’s mother when they went to a nearby gas station for snacks.

Once inside, the boys saw Battle and noticed he had a handgun in his waistband, Cook County prosecutors said.

The boy who was with Francis and Riley made a comment about wishing how he could be as tall as the 6-foot-3 Battle because he wanted to play basketball, prosecutors said.

Battle left the gas station before the boys left. But when they walked back to the home of the teen who made the comment, Battle came up behind the group in an alley in the 7900 block of South Luella Avenue, prosecutors said. The boy who was’t shot turned at the sound of the gunshots and saw Riley fall to the ground. He then saw Battle firing close behind Francis.

The boy ran inside to his mother and she called 911, prosecutors said.

Both victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Eleven fired shell casings were found at the scene, prosecutors said.

A witness doing work on a roof saw Battle come up behind the boys and fire repeatedly, prosecutors said.

Surveillance cameras also allegedly captured Battle inside the gas station before the crime and running in the alley after the shooting.

In one recording, Battle can be seen reaching for something off camera, prosecutors said. A .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun was found in a garbage can in the area where Battle was reaching, and he was also seen returning to the trash can to the following day, presumably to search for the gun, prosecutors said.

After he was taken into custody at a motel in Schiller Park Wednesday, Battle identified himself in images taken from the recordings, authorities said.

Battle was on probation for a weapons conviction at the time of the shooting.

He was also found with a suspected pill of ecstasy during his arrest, and was ordered held on $10,000 bail for the drug-related charges, according to Judge Susana Ortiz.

“He is a clear and present danger to all of society and all members of the community,” Ortiz said before ordering him held without bail.

A private defense attorney said Battle lives with his mother and most recently worked “handling income tax matters.”

Battle is expected back in court for the double murder on July 15.

Article Org: Chicago.suntimes.com

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