‘Kia Boy’ was the getaway driver for gunmen who killed 15-year-old Chicago boy: prosecutors

CHICAGO — Officials say an 18-year-old Kia Boy with “several” pending criminal cases was the getaway driver for a group of men who shot and killed a 15-year-old on the West Side in September.

Judge Kelly McCarthy detained Zion Rogers as a public safety threat, pointing to his “several pending criminal cases” as one reason he should not be released into the community.

He is the 31st person accused of participating in a murder or attempted murder in Chicago last year while awaiting trial for a felony. The cases involve at least 47 victims. Sixteen of them died.

Prosecutors told McCarthy that surveillance video from September 2 showed Rogers breaking out the rear passenger window of a Kia, climbing inside, and driving it away without using a key—the standard operating practice of “Kia Boys,” who exploit a design flaw to steal certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

The next evening, that Kia pulled onto the 2900 block of West Walnut. At least three gunmen got out of the passenger seats to shoot and kill 15-year-old Tyler Westmoreland on the sidewalk, according to prosecutors.

He suffered 16 gunshot wounds, prosecutors said, and investigators found 21 shell casings at the scene from three different calibers.

Zion Rogers | Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Department surveillance cameras and license plate readers racked the Kia as it sped from the area, running red lights. The camera video showed the driver wearing light blue gloves and a black top with a white emblem on the chest, prosecutors said during Rogers’ detention hearing.

CPD’s helicopter began tracking the Kia within a few minutes of the murder. Video recorded from the chopper showed Rogers wearing blue gloves as he drove the Kia across the city, the state’s proffer said.

Officials said he stopped briefly in an alley, allowing four passengers wearing black clothing to run away on foot. Then he continued driving alone, reaching high speeds and running red lights as the police helicopter shadowed him from above.

Rogers eventually crashed into a parked car in the 1200 block of North Clybourn, prosecutors said. He ran, but the helicopter followed him until ground units took him into custody about 33 minutes after the murder, according to the proffer.

Cops found the Kia’s steering wheel stripped and a single .38-caliber bullet on the driver’s floorboard, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged Rogers with possessing a stolen motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident, and he went home to await trial. They recently added a first-degree murder charge.

The “not horrible” series

This report continues our coverage of individuals accused of killing, shooting, or trying to kill or shoot others awaiting trial for a felony allegation. 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 awaiting trial for felony allegations is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has brought charges in less than 5% of non-fatal shootings and 33% of murders, according to the city’s data.

#1: Chicago man stabbed, beat roommate to death while awaiting trial for burglary, prosecutors say (February 18, 2023)

#2: Attempted murder charge for woman who randomly stabbed victim while on bail for randomly stabbing other people (March 5, 2023)

#3: She tried to kill a woman while on bail for trying to kill yet another woman, prosecutors say (April 7, 2023)

#4: Mayou’llged with killing woman while on felony bail after Chicago cops gather a mountain of video evidence, prosecutors say (April 7, 2023)

#5: Convicted murderer killed 2, wounded 1 while on electronic monitoring for gun possession, prosecutors say (April 18, 2023)

#6: Man killed 1, tried to kill another while on felony bail, prosecutors say (April 29, 2023)

#7: Man shot good Samaritan who went to check on him inside wrecked, smoking car, prosecutors say (May 5, 2023)

#8: 4 people, all with extensive juvenile criminal backgrounds, killed off-duty Chicago cop during armed robbery: prosecutors (May 10, 2023)

#9: Man accidentally shot front seat passenger while handling gun in car’s back seat, prosecutors say (May 23, 2023)

#10: Chicago man shot his brother because he was ‘tired of’ the sibling, prosecutors say (June 3, 2023)

#11: Chicago man killed robbery victim while on electronic monitoring for another robbery case: prosecutors (June 5, 2023)

#12: Man shot at, tried to kill Chicago cops while on parole and felony bail, prosecutors say (June 8, 2023)

#13: Seven-time felon shot a long-time friend, ‘firing round after round,’ while on felony bail, prosecutors say (July 11, 2023)

#14: Man on bail for machine gun possession opened fire on pedestrians, shooting a 16-year-old, officials say (July 13, 2023)

#15: Hitman killed target while on bail for trying to disarm a cop, prosecutors say (July 22, 2023)

#16: Brothers shot two women during family gathering in Bronzeville, prosecutors say (August 3, 2023)

#17: Drive-by shooter killed 1, injured 4, and accidentally shot an accomplice while on bail for machine gun possession, prosecutors say (August 25, 2023)

#18: Man tried to kill 2 Chicago firefighters while on bail awaiting new trial for a 2005 murder case, prosecutors say (September 14, 2023)

#19: 3 charged in armed robbery turned shooting in Homan Square (September 2, 2023)

#20: Woman who stabbed girl to death in the Loop was awaiting trial for robbing Red Line passenger, prosecutors say (October 7, 2023)

#21: Chicago man fired shots at two people while on bail for a felony gun case, prosecutors say (October 16, 2023)

#22: 17-year-old cut off ankle monitor, killed a man at South Side gas station: prosecutors (October 27, 2023)

#23: Chicago man viciously stabbed ex’s new boyfriend while on bail for a felony gun case: prosecutors (October 28, 2023)

#24: Chicago man fired into a crowd of people, killing 1 and injuring another, while on bail for a Class X gun charge: prosecutors (November 7, 2023)

#25: Man chased down, killed woman while on bail for stolen motor vehicle and firearm allegations: prosecutors (November 10, 2023)

#26: Chicago man shot another man while on bail for a Class X felony gun charge, prosecutors say (November 24, 2023)

#27: ‘Kia boy’ murdered 2 people while awaiting trial for stolen vehicle case, prosecutors say (December 19, 2023)

#28: Man shot acquaintance during a fight while on bond for a pending Class X narcotics case, prosecutors say (December 20, 2023)

#29: Chicago man accidentally shot himself one day after being released from jail on a gun charge, prosecutors say (December 23, 2023)

#30: Chicago man shot victim in the face while on bail for one gun case, and on probation for another: prosecutors (January 2, 2024)

2024 “not horrible” cases

2022 “not horrible” cases

2021 “not horrible” cases

2020 “not horrible” cases

2019 “not horrible” cases

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About Tim Hecke 331 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com