A three-time felon on bail for one of Illinois’ most serious gun crimes opened fire on a Chicago family’s birthday celebration, shooting a 12-year-old boy in the head this week, prosecutors said. Incredibly, a Cook County judge made Isaiah Renteria pay just $1,000 to get out of jail on a Class X armed habitual criminal charge in November and did not require him to go on to electronic monitoring.
On Friday, Renteria became the 38th person accused of killing or shooting—or attempting to kill or shoot—someone in Chicago while awaiting trial for a felony this year. The alleged crimes involved at least 76 victims, 18 of whom died.
Renteria, 22, and his alleged accomplice, 23-year-old Pedro Molina, are each charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder. Prosecutors also charged Renteria with three felony counts of aggravated fleeing for allegedly leading police on a 12-mile chase that reached speeds over 100 mph.
On Tuesday evening, family members gathered at a home in the 1800 block of West 21st Place to celebrate a woman’s birthday, and many of her grandchildren attended. Around 10:30 p.m., part of the family gathered in the alley to look at a relative’s new car. Three 12-year-olds were among the group, prosecutors said.
The family was laughing and talking when shots rang out. There were so many shots fired at once, a concealed carry holder in the group thought the sound was created by fireworks—until he turned around and saw two men wearing black masks over their faces and heads shooting at them.
He pulled his weapon and returned fire, then noticed his 12-year-old cousin on the ground. The boy had been shot in the temple and was gravely wounded. Prosecutors said the boy underwent emergency surgery and remained critically wounded in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
According to authorities, the concealed carry holder told police the gunmen were two light-skinned Hispanic men, with one being tall and skinny, the other heavyset.
A high-speed chase
Police determined that a black Dodge Charger with distinctive stripes and no license plates had been circling the area before the shooting, and cops saw the car. Within 20 seconds of receiving calls about the shooting, officers in the area spotted the vehicle and tried to pull it over, prosecutors said.
The driver sped away and headed onto the Stevenson Expressway. As the car sped toward the suburbs, a federal law enforcement helicopter tracked it. Authorities said the driver ran over spike strips at one point but continued to drive the car for another seven miles after his tires were punctured.
Prosecutors said police finally caught up with the car after it stopped in southwest suburban La Grange. Cops yanked Renteria from behind the wheel and Molina from the back seat. A third person in the front passenger seat was also detained, but they have not been charged.
Molina told officers that he had been shot, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment. But prosecutors said doctors determined that he didn’t have any injuries and discharged him.
Two days after the shooting, police received a call from someone who found a gun along the Dodge Charger’s route. Ballistics tests on the weapon suggest it could have been used in the shooting, prosecutors said.
On November 13, prosecutors charged Renteria with being an armed habitual criminal and a felon in possession of a firearm. Judge Barbara Dawkins ordered him to pay that $1,000 deposit to get out of jail. He returned home the next day.
Renteria was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2020 and two burglaries in 2019, prosecutors said. Molina was also convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2018.
On Friday, Judge David Navarro held Renteria and Molina without bail.
The “not horrible” series
This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others 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.
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 email@example.com