NO BAIL FOR AL­LEGED GUN­MAN CHARGED IN MUR­DER OF 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MATTHEW HEN­DRICK­SON, STAFF RE­PORTER mhen­drick­son@sun­times.com | @MHen­drick­sonCST

A Stream­wood man ear­lier de­scribed as the get­away driver in a deadly shoot­ing that claimed the life of 10-year-old Lena Nunez is now also be­lieved to be the al­leged gun­man that sprayed the Lo­gan Square al­ley with bul­lets, killing the girl as she watched tele­vi­sion in a nearby apart­ment.

On Wed­nes­day, Chicago po­lice said 19-year-old Christophe­r Lara was the get­away driver be­hind the wheel of an SUV that brought the shooter to the block on June 27.

But in court Thurs­day, Cook County pros­e­cu­tors said they were con­fi­dent that he was also a shooter, based on wit­ness state­ments, sur­veil­lance video, cell­phone records and Lara’s pre­vi­ous run-ins with po­lice.

The bul­let that killed Lena came through a win­dow of her grand­mother’s apart­ment that night while the girl was watch­ing tele­vi­sion with other young fam­ily mem­bers.

After pass­ing through Lena’s head, the bul­let grazed the nose of an 8-year-old cousin who was seated on a couch be­side her, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Author­i­ties said they be­lieve the in­tended tar­get of the shoot­ing was a group of fam­ily mem­bers, in­clud­ing Lena’s fa­ther, who was out­side drink­ing in a garage be­hind the build­ing in the 3500 block of West Dick­ens Av­enue.

One per­son in the group, a con­cealed-carry per­mit holder, re­turned fire at the shooter and later got into a ve­hi­cle to chase after them, but was un­able to lo­cate any­one, pros­e­cu­tors said.

No wit­nesses could iden­tify Lara but some were able to give a gen­eral phys­i­cal de­scrip­tion of the shooter that matched Lara’s cloth­ing and ap­pear­ance that night, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Ev­i­dence against Lara in­cluded de­scrip­tions and video footage of a fairly rare tan-col­ored 2010 Mer­cury Mariner SUV with a bike rack and bro­ken tail light that was seen in the area be­fore the shoot­ing, pros­e­cu­tors said.

Lara had al­legedly been stopped by Chicago po­lice in March while driv­ing that SUV, and again in July by Stream­wood po­lice.

A cell­phone num­ber Lara sup­plied to po­lice dur­ing the lat­ter stop was used for a search war­rant on the phone.

GPS records from the phone place Lara trav­el­ing to and from the area around the time of the shoot­ing, pros­e­cu­tors said.

A day after po­lice pub­licly re­leased a photo of the SUV, an as­so­ci­ate of Lara al­legedly texted him and told him that he needed to get rid of the ve­hi­cle.

Pros­e­cu­tors didn’t say in court Thurs­day whether there were other sus­pects in­volved in the shoot­ing.

Lara’s de­fense at­tor­ney stressed that no one had iden­ti­fied his client as shooter and that there was no phys­i­cal ev­i­dence ty­ing him to the mur­der.

Judge Su­sana Or­tiz agreed the ev­i­dence was cir­cum­stan­tial, but said that she was swayed by it and con­cluded Lara would be a dan­ger to the com­mu­nity if he was re­leased while he awaited trial on mur­der and at­tempted mur­der charges. She or­dered Lara held with­out bail.

Lara lives with fam­ily, in­clud­ing an in­fant son, at­tends church in Lo­gan Square and has been work­ing as a land­scaper, his at­tor­ney said.

Lara is ex­pected back in court on Aug. 25.

MANNY RAMOS/SUN-TIMES

A vigil for 10-year-old Lena Nunez is held out­side a Lo­gan Square apart­ment June 29.

Christophe­r Lara CHICAGO PO­LICE

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