CHICAGO — Police said Monday they are searching for the assailants responsible for the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old boy helping his stepfather deliver newspapers so he could earn money to buy gifts, police said.
Investigators believe the fatal shooting of the teen, Brian Jasso, was a case of “mistaken identity” and that he was caught in an ongoing turf war between rival gangs on Chicago’s Southwest Side, said Anthony Riccio, who heads the Chicago Police Department’s bureau of organized crime division.
“He’s had no run-ins with the police, he’s never been arrested,” Riccio said. “He’s a good kid delivering newspapers with his stepfather to earn a little bit of money to buy Christmas presents or a birthday present.”
Jasso and his stepfather were driving their newspaper route early Sunday morning when the assailants in another vehicle rear-ended them. The gunman, who witnesses told police was hanging out of the passenger side of the suspects’ car, then opened fire and wounded the teen in the head.
Riccio said that investigators suspect that the shooting of the paper boy may have been connected to another incident in the city that occurred about eight hours earlier in which two people were killed — a 25-year-old man and 21-year-old woman — and a third man was wounded. Police say that incident was a gang-related shooting.
In the gang-related shooting, detectives found 77 rifle casings at the scene of the crime, Riccio said. No arrests have been made in either shooting.
More than 630 people have been murdered in Chicago thus far in 2017, according to police. The nation’s third-largest city is on pace to record significantly fewer murders than it did last year when it tallied more than 760 murders, according to police records.
Still, the city is on pace to again record more murders than New York and Los Angeles combined in 2017. New York’s and Los Angeles’ combined population is about 12.5 million, while Chicago’s population is about 2.7 million.
President Trump has repeatedly criticized Chicago over the gun violence, and once again laid into the city during a speech last week at the FBI’s academy in Quantico, Va.
“What the hell is happening in Chicago?” Trump said. “What the hell is happening there?”
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