Laroy Battle (pictured in mugshot) was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in a June 20th shooting
Two teenage boys were shot dead on Chicago’s South Side after asking the alleged gunman how tall he was while buying candy from a local store.
Tragedy struck on June 20 when three teenage boys went into a convenience store that evening and encountered 19-year-old Laroy Battle.
Authorities said the unexpected shooting happened after Jasean Francis, 17, Charles Riley, 16, and an unidentified friend commented on Battle’s height.
‘These individuals were with their friend. They’d just gone to a mall. They know the neighborhood. They don’t ever go out to the neighborhood because it’s so dangerous,’ Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told CBS 2.
The three teenagers reportedly noticed Battle’s height and commented that they hoped to be that tall someday.
‘Unfortunately, we will never even see the full growth of these poor children,’ said Deenihan.
The teenagers were walking home from the convenience store when Battle allegedly approached them and opened fire.
Jasean Francis was shot in the chest, back and left hand. Charles Riley was hit in the back and left leg.
Friends Charles Riley (left) and Jasean Francis (right) were shot dead on June 20 in Chicago, Illinois, after asking the alleged gunman how tall he was
The third teenager managed to escape and his identity was not disclosed by police.
Authorities recovered nine shell casings from the scene. ‘None of it makes sense,’ said Deenihan.
Jasean and Charles were taken to the University of Chicago Hospital where they both later succumbed to their injuries.
CCTV surveillance footage shared by the Chicago Police Department showed Battle limping into the convenience store and approaching the counter.
Minutes later, the three teenage boys arrive and can be seen stepping through the entrance.
The Chicago Police Department said they were eventually able to identify Battle (pictured in CCTV footage) with tips from community members
Footage then cuts to Battle sprinting down an alleyway near where he discarded the suspected gun in a garbage can.
‘The security cameras from the area were able to show the offender discarding a gun in the garbage can and then Battle was eventually found hiding out in a motel,’ said Deenihan.
Battle was arrested without incident and charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the double homicide. He was denied bond.
Deputy Chief Deenihan said the community was pivotal in identifying and locating Battle, who was found by the Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force in Schiller Park.
KMOV4 reports that Battle cut off his hair to change his appearance after spotting a video of himself on social media.
Authorities said he has a previous conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Battle has not revealed why he allegedly committed the murders, stumping local law enforcement and Deenihan.
Pictured: Surveillance footage shows Battle inside the Chicago convenience store on June 20 before Jasean and Charles were shot
CCTV footage captured the moment Battle (pictured) sprinted down an alleyway after allegedly shooting the two teenagers
‘There was no altercation. There was nothing that would have set off Battle to be angry at these kids,’ said Deenihan, who added that they did not know each other.
‘He is about 6’3”, 6’4”, and they literally just asked him how tall he was because he is extremely tall.’
The family of the two victims are devastated.
‘He was nice to seniors on the block,’ Jasean’s aunt Keena Hoyle said. ‘The nurses looked forward to him coming over there daily.
‘They brought over to the family roses. They watched him grow up as a child.’
A woman named Rae Simone identified herself as Jasean’s older brother on Facebook and shared several heartbreaking tributes.
‘Not in a Million Years did I Think I’ll Be Having To Lay My Brother To Rest. This I Don’t Understand. This I Have No Words For,’ she wrote.
‘I’m My Brothers Keeper. I’m His Super Hero Sister That Save The Day. I’m His Protector And This Time I Feel As If I Failed. I’m Just Sitting Here Waiting On Him To Call And Say That Wasn’t Him Or I’m On My Way Home.
‘I’m Still Siting Her Waiting On Him To Call And Say “:Come Pick Me Up. Can I Ride With You?” I’m Still Waiting On Him To Mispronounce My Name. I’m Sitting Her Ready To Pick Argument With Ja-Sean About Cayln.
‘I’m Still Her Waiting To See Him Just Walk Through The Living Room Door Or Ja-Sean Asking Me Where My Car?
‘My Brother My Baby My Son You Left Me Too Soon . I’m So Confused.’
Family members shared tributes of Jasean on Facebook after news spread of his untimely death two weeks ago
Rae Simone: ‘Not in a Million Years did I Think I’ll Be Having To Lay My Brother To Rest. This I Don’t Understand. This I Have No Words For’
Friends and family of the victims attended a prayer vigil held Friday night near the scene of the shooting.
A balloon release was held at Thomas Hoyne Elementary School, where Jasean studied in his childhood, and was attended by several community members.
Simone further admonished the ‘senseless’ acts of violence against her brother and Charles by calling for gun violence to end.
‘These boys were wonderful kids. They did not deserve what happen to them,’ wrote Simone.
‘Senseless. We really appreciate each and every one of you. Please stop this violence! Put the guns down Chicago.’
A prayer vigil and balloon release was held to honor Jasean and other gun violence victims who recently died in Chicago
Pictured: a small memorial was created to honor Jasean after he was killed two weeks ago
Last weekend, 78 Chicago residents were shot and 11 died, including small children.
A three-year-old boy was shot dead on June 20 while driving in a car with his stepfather.
The stepfather was grazed by a bullet, but the young child was hit in the back and died after being rushed to a local hospital.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot condemned the crime, telling the suspects ‘they had no shelter to hide.’
‘Our city’s collective heart breaks to hear the unfathomable news of a 3-year-old boy who was shot and killed tonight on Chicago’s West Side. There are simply no words to describe such a heinous, unconscionable act of cowardice to shoot at a toddler.
‘A 3-year-old boy who had his whole life ahead of him. To the despicable individuals responsible for this senseless act of violence, you have no place in this city, no home in our communities, no shelter to hide.’
A Chicago 7-Eleven store is pictured after it was looted and its windows smashed on May 31
According to the Chicago-Sun Times, overall crime in Chicago fell 20 per cent in May 2020 compared to the same time last year.
But police date showed murders spiked as much as 60 per cent and shooting victims increased by 71 per cent.
In May, there were 409 shooting victims and 85 murders, compared to the 332 shooting victims and 53 deaths last year.
From January to May, there were a total of 1,127 shooting victims in Chicago.
During anti-racism protests over the May 30 weekend, authorities said they arrested more than 1,200 people, made 62 gun arrests and recovered 135 guns.
Chicago also said its deadliest day in 60 years on May 31 when 18 people were killed in a 24 hour span.
The previous record was when 13 people died on August 4, 1991.
The victims included a high school student, a local college freshman and a father.
‘We’ve never seen anything like it at all,’ Max Kapustin, the senior research director at the crime lab, said.
‘I don’t even know how to put it into context. It’s beyond anything that we’ve ever seen before.’