COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Northwest Side man was ordered held without bail Wednesday after he allegedly opened fire on a gathering of family members in Belmont Cragin who were outside "enjoying the summer evening."
Prosecutors said Miguel Vasquez, 20, killed one man and seriously injured three of his relatives.
Vasquez, who prosecutors said is a self-admitted member of the Cobras street gang, allegedly ran up to the gathering in the 2900 block of North Kilpatrick Avenue, raised a gun and began shooting. Prosecutors gave no motive for the shooting.
Rene Soto, 25, was hit in his lower back and arm and died on the scene, said Assistant State's Attorney Bridget O'Brien said in court Wednesday.
After shots rang out, Soto's 31-year-old cousin tried to push his own wife and small children — ages 3, 8 and 9 — inside the house after he saw them "standing frozen on the steps," O'Brien said.
But the cousin was shot in his back and is now paralyzed from the waist down, O'Brien said.
The cousin's 28-year-old brother tried to escape the gunfire by running down a nearby gangway, but was hit in his left side and left arm.
O'Brien said the cousin's 17-year-old sister saw the gunman run across the street and point a gun in her direction.
"That is the last thing [she] remembers seeing before a bullet struck her in the eye," O'Brien said. "[She] is now permanently blind in her left eye. She also suffered a gunshot wound to her arm."
Prosecutors said two people who saw the incident spotted the shooter in a neighborhood park a few days later and overheard him talking about what he had done, O'Brien said. The witnesses contacted detectives, who arrested Vasquez.
Surviving family members later identified Vasquez as the shooter in a lineup.
Vasquez, of the 2500 block of North Neva Avenue, was charged with first degree murder, three counts of attempted first degree murder and three counts of aggravated battery with discharge of a firearm. Prosecutors said the 20-year-old had earlier been charged with a misdemeanor in 2012 for possessing a replica handgun.
Vasquez works for a temporary employment agency and is a recent graduate of Steinmetz High School, a public defender said.
In court Wednesday, Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Vasquez held without bail.