Breaking: Cellmate charged with beating death of rival gang member in Cook County Jail

Christian Gonzalez | Cook County Sheriff

A convicted, violent felon will be charged today with the beating death of 19-year-old Pedro Ruiz in the two-man Cook County Jail cell that they shared for less than 12 hours last week.

Murder charges will be presented against 24-year-old Christian “Babyface” Gonzalez of Burbank in central bond court this afternoon, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Pedro Ruiz | CPD

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office confirmed the source’s information on Thursday morning.

Gonzalez was charged last year with stabbing and trying to kill another inmate inside the Cook County Jail facility last autumn, according to court records. He is in the facility awaiting trial on allegations that he shot a Chicago man in 2017.

CWBChicago was first to report on Monday that jail authorities assigned Ruiz to share a cell with a violent member of a rival gang last Friday afternoon. Ruiz was found dead in his cell with massive head injuries shortly before 2 a.m. the next day. The Cook County medical examiner declared his death a homicide by “beating” with “multiple injuries” received.

Ruiz was sent to the jail after prosecutors charged him with murder on Friday afternoon.

Incredibly, the original charge that put Gonzalez in jail last year involves the shooting of a man on the 4400 block of South Wood, less than a block from Ruiz’s home.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office has refused to answer any questions about the screening processes in place to keep rival gang members from being placed in potentially dangerous situations such as Ruiz’s.

Gonzalez was paroled from prison on May 31, 2019, after serving half of two concurrent two-year sentences for weapons charges, according to state records. One of the convictions involved his possession of an AK-47 rifle in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.

On his parole date, state officials transferred custody of Gonzalez to the Chicago authorities so he could face attempted murder charges in the shooting of a 23-year-old man in the New City neighborhood on June 12, 2017.

Police said Gonzalez made incriminating statements to a third party in which he admitted to being responsible for the New City shooting. He also gave police a rifle that investigators determined was used in the crime, police said. 

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Prosecutors accused Gonzalez of firing the gun into a car that was occupied by the victim as well as a 3-year-old boy. The boy was not seriously injured, but the man suffered grave wounds and remained hospitalized for several months, police said.

Last November, prosecutors charged Gonzalez with attempted murder, aggravated battery and mob action after another rival gang member was beaten and stabbed in a common area of Cook County Jail, according to court records.

The sheriff’s office “has launched a thorough internal investigation of all the factors involved in this case,” a department spokesman said this morning. “We take all acts of violence in the jail extremely seriously and work tirelessly to prevent those intent on committing harm from being able to do so.”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com