CHICAGO (AP/KMOV) — Murder charges have been filed against a man accused of fatally shooting two Chicago teens after they asked him how tall he was when they were buying candy at a store, authorities announced Thursday.
Detective Brendan Deenihan said Laroy Battle, 19, allegedly shot Jesean Francis, 17, and Charles Riley, 16, after they, along with a friend, encountered the 6-foot-3 Battle at a store in the 7900 block of South Luella. Deenihan says the teens asked Battle how tall he was and expressed the hope they would grow to be that tall.
“There was no altercation. There was, there was nothing that would have set off Battle to be angry at these kids,” Deenihan said, adding that "they literally just asked him how tall he was. Cause he's cause he is extremely tall. I know it doesn't make any sense.”
As the three teens walked home, Francis and Riley, who had gone to the store to buy candy, were shot multiple times in an alley, according to authorities. Francis was shot in the back, chest and hand while Riley was shot in the back and leg. Both teens later died at a local hospital.
The third teen managed to escape gunfire unharmed, police said. The shooting occurred during a Fathers Day weekend in Chicago that saw more than 100 wounded by gunfire and 14 killed.
Battle was arrested Wednesday by the Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force in Schiller Park outside Chicago. Surveillance cameras outside a gas station captured the alleged gunman walking with a heavy limp which Battle confirmed was him.
He cut off his hair to change his appearance after seeing himself on the video posted on social media. Authorities credited the public for providing video of the suspect and his identity for the arrest.
Deenihan said Battle invoked his right to remain silent so the motive is still unclear. Touching back on the victims, the detective expressed that boys' lives were cut short over senseless violence.
“Obviously, we’ll never see the full growth of these poor children,” Deenihan said, adding they were "very good kids from really excellent families.”
Battle is being held without bond.