Two teenage boys were shot to death in Chicago after they asked the suspect how tall he was when they were buying candy at a store.
Authorities said the incident occurred on Saturday when they went to a store to buy candy in South Side, Chicago. There, they had a conversation with Laroy Battle, 19, who was later identified as the suspect.
“The victims were walking into the store, they saw Battle, he was standing in line while at the store and the victims commented that Battle, he was quite tall, and they asked him how tall he was and hoped to be that tall someday,” said Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan, according to ABC News. “Unfortunately, we will never even see the full growth of these poor children.”
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Battle is 6-foot-3.
The three boys, identified as teenagers, then started walking home. Police said that Battle then approached them and opened fire.
Jasean Francis, 17, was shot several times, and Charles Riley, 16, was shot several times, officials said. The third, unidentified teen managed to escape unscathed.
“He was nice to seniors on the block,” said Francis’s aunt Keena Hoyle, as reported by WLS-TV. “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.”
Riley and Francis were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were later pronounced dead, Deenihan said.
“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 … He was arrested without incident,” he said in a press conference.
Battle was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, police told CBS Chicago. Deenihan said that Battle had three prior arrests, including unlawful use of a weapon in 2018.
Deenihan said there was no altercation that set Battle off, and neither he nor the three boys knew one another.
“None of it makes sense,” Deenihan said.
According to Deenihan, Battle was found in a motel in the Schiller Park area. A controlled substance was found in the room, and he now faces additional charges.
Last weekend, more than 104 people were shot, including 14 fatally, across Chicago in one of the worst weekends in recent memory.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown lamented the surge in shootings in recent days on Sunday.
“Bullets don’t just tear apart the things they strike,” Brown said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Bullets also tear apart families. Bullets destroy neighborhoods and they ruin any sense of safety in a community.”