Luis Molina Jr., a twice-convicted gun offender, escaped from electronic monitoring last September and then remained on the loose until mid-April, according to prosecutors and court records. Five days before authorities caught up with him, Molina and four-time felon Hector Rivera allegedly opened fire on a carload of people outside a liquor store. Two people were shot.
Molina is the 21st person accused of killing or shooting — or trying to shoot or kill — someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony. The alleged crimes involve at least 49 victims, 11 of whom died.
Rivera, Molina’s alleged accomplice, was also awaiting trial for a felony gun case, his third. He was the 15th person charged with killing or shooting — or trying to shoot or kill — someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony.
Third gun case and escape
Molina’s court files shows Judge Charles Burns sentenced him to 27 months for possessing a stolen firearm in 2017. But when cops caught him with his second gun in May 2020, prosecutors only charged him with a misdemeanor.
He pleaded guilty in December of that year and Judge Robert Kuzas sentenced him to one day in jail. The sentence was off-set by the day he spent in custody upon being arrested.
Just five months later, on May 23, 2021, a Chicago police officer watching surveillance camera feeds saw a man holding a gun in the middle of 18th Place — a street that, based on his face tattoos, is important to Molina.
Patrol officers went to the scene and saw Molina walk to the back of a truck and place something inside. It turned out to be a gun, prosecutors said. They arrested him.
Judge Charles Beach set bail conditions that allowed Molina to go home on electronic monitoring by paying a $1,000 bail deposit. Four months later, on September 22, Molina stopped showing up for court. A judge issued an arrest warrant and prosecutors filed charges for escape from electronic monitoring.
He remained on the loose until April 10, 2022.
Four days before authorities caught Molina, five friends arrived at a liquor store on the 2300 block of West 21st Street. While one friend stepped out of the car to go into the store, two gunmen began shooting him and the four who remained inside the vehicle.
The car’s driver sped away from the gunfire and headed to a hospital because two of the passengers realized the gunmen had shot them. An 18-year-old woman suffered a gunshot wound to her bicep and a 19-year-old man was shot in his stomach, officials said.
Detectives identified Molina and Rivera from crystal-clear surveillance video that showed them both holding guns inside the liquor store and shooting the guns outside the business, Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said.
Police announced the charges against Molina this week, but court records show a grand jury indicted him May 11 on 15 counts of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm, and three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle.
He is being held without bail.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been accused of murder, attempted murder, or shooting firearms toward people while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.
The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.