Chicago — An anti-crime group is offering up to $15,000 for information that leads to charges in the fatal shooting of Jean Carlos Cobian in December 2020. CWB Chicago reported on March 13 that police had identified a suspect in the murder, but detectives determined that there was not enough evidence to pursue charges against him.
Now, Cook County Crime Stoppers is stepping up to the plate with a reward offer that’s good until mid-May.
Around 1 a.m. on December 30, 2020, Cobian was found lying in the street in the 3400 block of South Archer with a gunshot wound to the back of his head. Cobian’s car was parked nearby, and his family said he was on his way home.
“I thought it was an accident, like, somebody ran him over, you know,” his mother told NBC Chicago at the time. “I didn’t expect someone shot him. When the detectives told me the following day, I was like, they shot him?”
Six weeks later, Chicago police arrested Nicholas Samudio after they allegedly found a bullet inside his bookbag while they investigated a double-parked car in the 2800 block of South Sawyer, according to CPD records.
But the officers said they had another reason for arresting Samudio, too, writing in an arrest report that he had been “positively identified as taking part in the murder of” Cobian. Samudio was not charged, though. Detectives found “insufficient evidence to present [a] felony case” to prosecutors, the police report said.
That was the 17th time Chicago police had arrested Samudio since he turned 18 about three years earlier. He has never been convicted of any crime, prosecutors say.
Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $15,000 cash reward for 60 days starting March 18 for “information that leads to the indictment or arrest” of the person or persons responsible for Cobian’s murder.
The group’s anonymous tip line is 1-800-535-STOP. Information can also be shared with the CPD hotline at 833-408-0069 or TIPS@cookcountyscrimestoppers.org. Anonymous tipsters are eligible to receive the reward, Crime Stoppers said.
CPD’s earlier suspicions about Samudio surfaced this month after prosecutors accused him of murdering a man in February.
Shortly after 2 a.m. on February 26, Tomas Villa parked his car in the 2700 block of West 18th Street and started walking home, crossing behind a Chrysler 300 that was passing by.
As he got to the sidewalk, a man named Moses Maldonado opened fire on him from the front passenger seat of the Chrysler, prosecutor Anne McCord said earlier this month. Villa dove for cover between two parked cars.
Samudo got out of the Chrysler’s back seat and shot Villa “several times” while he was on the ground, McCord said, as Maldonado continued firing at Villa from the car.
A surveillance camera recorded the shooting, but the gunmen cannot be identified from the footage. However, Chicago police detectives who tracked the car’s movements before and after the shooting found surveillance video from a liquor store and another location that helped them identify Maldonado and Samudio, said McCord.
Several hours after the murder, the Chrysler sped away from Chicago police detectives who tried to pull it over. Samudio threw a gun from the car as the chase progressed, McCord said. Cops recovered the firearm and determined that it was the same weapon that ejected bullet casings found near Villa’s body.
The Chrysler eventually stopped, and police arrested Maldonado and Samudio. The car’s driver, who was also driving the Chrysler at the time of Villa’s murder, identified both men as the shooters, McCord said.
Samudio’s defense attorney said he has Down Syndrome and worked for a demolition business and as a furniture mover. Maldonado has a child on the way.
They are both being held without bail.