16-year-old murdered 3 people and injured a fourth, then stole their rifle: prosecutors

Ladeverette West Ringgold, left, and Amere Deese (Gun Violence Memorial, Legal Help Firm)

CHICAGO — Prosecutors on Thursday painted a disturbing picture of adults and teenagers hanging out in a bedroom for hours, smoking pot and “playing” with a rifle before one of the teens opened fire with a pistol. When he was done shooting, prosecutors said, three people were dead, a fourth was injured, and he stole the rifle.

Those details emerged as Assistant State’s Attorney Anne McCord Rodgers laid out the state’s allegations during a detention hearing for the alleged shooter, 16-year-old Antonio Velasco.

The shooting occurred on the evening of February 25 inside a home in the 8000 block of South Vincennes. Starting late in the afternoon, four people were hanging out in a bedroom, officials said: a 16-year-old boy, 14-year-old Amere Deese, Randy Graham, 36, and Ladeverette West Ringgold, a 20-year-old who lived in the home with family.

They were “playing with a rifle,” Rodgers said. They eventually placed the weapon on the floor behind a TV in the bedroom.

At about 5 p.m., Velasco and his 13-year-old brother arrived and joined the group in the bedroom. They all hung out and smoked pot, said Rodgers.

Two hours later, Velasco stepped out of the bedroom, returning moments later armed with a handgun equipped with an extended ammunition magazine, according to Rodgers.

“Up that chop,” Velasco told his 13-year-old brother, using slang to instruct the boy to pick up the rifle. After the younger boy grabbed the weapon, Velasco shot the other four occupants of the bedroom. Deese, Graham, and Ringgold died. The 16-year-old victim survived a gunshot wound to his leg.

Velasco took the rifle from his brother, and they both left the home, Rodgers said, adding that three witnesses identified Velasco, and at least two saw him with the rifle after the shooting. She said a surveillance camera a couple of blocks from the shooting scene may have captured images of Velasco walking with the rifle after the crime.

The authorities have not found the rifle or the murder weapon, she said.

Judge Kelly McCarthy granted the state’s detention petition.

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