CHICAGO — Last Thanksgiving morning, the Chicago Police Department announced that two men were being charged with murder in the death of 7-year-old Akeem Briscoe, killed by a bullet that flew into his Humboldt Park home and struck him in the stomach.
David Cervantes, 18, and Joseph Serrano, 19, were to appear in court for a bond hearing later that day, CPD said. A 16-year-old boy was also charged a month earlier.
As Cervantes was being called into court that afternoon, prosecutors suddenly dropped the case against him. He went home.
This week, Chicago police arrested Cervantes again. They say he concealed a loaded handgun with an extended ammunition magazine behind a car’s entertainment center during a traffic stop.
Akeem was brushing his teeth and getting ready for bed on October 26 when a bullet flew through the rear window of his home in the 2600 block of West Potomac. The round passed through the kitchen, entered the bathroom, and struck him in the abdomen, prosecutors said.
Clutching his side, the boy walked to the kitchen and told his mother he had been shot. He later died. Prosecutors said videos showed three people carrying two guns approaching the alley behind Akeem’s home and opening fire on a group of people in a Volkswagen SUV.
All four intended targets ran from the scene and escaped unharmed, but one bullet killed Akeem. Investigators found 16 shell casings from two guns at the scene.
During a press conference announcing charges against the 16-year-old, CPD leaders said detectives believed the juvenile carried a handgun and passed it to one of the adults, but the boy did not personally fire the weapon.
A month after the press conference, police announced charges against Serrano and Cervantes.
But court records show prosecutors refused to approve murder charges against Cervantes and Serrano when detectives presented the cases last year.
In a rare move, Chicago Police Commander Joel Howard overrode the prosecutors’ decision and personally approved the charges against Cervantes, court records show. Brendan Deenihan, then the chief of detectives, signed an override for Serrano. A prosecutor decided to approve the charge against Serrano two minutes after Deenihan’s override, according to court papers.
The next day, prosecutors told Judge Barbara Dawkins they were not proceeding with the case against Cervantes. Serrano wasn’t so lucky. He is still being held without bail.
A little after 8 p.m. Sunday, Chicago police officers allegedly saw a Hyundai double-parked in the 4300 block of West West End Avenue. As they turned on their blue lights, they allegedly saw Cervantes remove something from his waist area and put it “near the infotainment center.”
Cervantes tried to run when the cops ordered everyone out of the car, his CPD arrest report said, but he didn’t go far.
Police found a loaded.40-caliber handgun with an extended magazine concealed in a compartment behind the car’s entertainment center, according to the report.
Prosecutors charged Cervantes with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a person under 21. Judge William Fahy sent him home Monday with a nighttime curfew.