3 years after Cook County refused to charge a man with National Guardsman’s murder, federal prosecutors take on the case

Chrys Carvajal (Provided)

CHICAGO — Nearly three years ago, Chicago police detectives asked the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to charge a high-ranking gang member with the murder of Chrys Carvajal, a 19-year-old National Guardsman who was visiting his family for a Fourth of July barbecue on the Northwest Side.

The prosecutors refused to sign off on the charges, citing insufficient evidence. They sent the cops marching with instructions to get more proof. Their office never charged anyone with Carvajal’s death.

Federal prosecutors are now doing what their state counterparts would not. On Friday, the Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that they have charged two Milwaukee Kings gang members with racketeering and murder in connection with Carvajal’s death. One of the men charged is the same man Chicago police tried to charge with murder in 2021, according to a source.

Carvajal had stepped away from the family gathering to get something from his car around 1:20 a.m. on July 4, 2021, when someone shot and killed him in the 2200 block of North Lockwood, officials said at the time.

The following month, detectives asked prosecutors in Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to charge a then-38-year-old high-ranking Milwaukee Kings gang member with murder.

“Video evidence and three eyewitnesses have been presented” to prosecutors, Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) said on Twitter after prosecutors rejected the case. He continued: “This family deserves justice as well as the hundreds of families who have unsolved murders pending #pleasedoyourjob.”

In addition to video and eyewitnesses, CPD also told prosecutors that the suspect’s car and phone were at or near the murder scene when Carvajal was killed, according to a source.

But it wasn’t enough.

On Friday, federal officials unsealed charges against Gary “Gotti” Roberson, 40, and Joseph “Troubles” Matos, 41, in connection with Carvajal’s murder. They’re both associated with the Milwaukee Kings, according to the allegations. A high-profile raid on a Lincoln Square home last month was part of the federal investigation.

Federal prosecutors said Matos and Roberson killed Carvajal to maintain and increase their positions within the street gang. If convicted of murder in aid of racketeering, they face mandatory life in prison, with the death penalty also being an option, federal officials said Friday.

Matos remains at large while Roberson is detained to await trial.

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