46 years for man who murdered 2 students, injured 2 others outside Juarez Academy

Left to right: Nathan Billegas, the gunman running from the shooting scene, and Brandon Perez. | GoFundMe; Chicago Police Department

Chicago — A former Benito Juarez Community Academy student has been sentenced to 46 years in prison for fatally shooting two boys and injuring two others outside the school in December 2022.

Christian Acevedo, who turned 18 last week, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder before Judge Mary Brosnahan on Monday. She handed him 20 years for each murder and six for the attempted murder, according to court records.

Illinois Answers Project journalist Peter Nickeas recently published an extensive report about the delays Chicago police experienced during the investigation due to a lack of cooperation from Chicago Public School officials.

“For three critical hours after four students were shot, two fatally, at Benito Juarez High School, the school principal and some staffers threw up roadblocks to the police investigation and weeks later had to be threatened with grand jury subpoenas to spur their cooperation,” Nickeas’ report began.

Acevedo, a member of the 18th Street Bishops street gang, was expelled from Juarez in 2022 due to his behavior, academics, and attendance, prosecutors said.

Officials said he returned to the campus around 2:30 p.m. on December 16 and approached a group of students hanging out under a bridge connecting two buildings. A witness heard someone say there were “Razas,” a rival gang of the Bishops, and warned the group that there would be trouble.

Within moments, Acevedo walked up to 15-year-old Juarez student Brandon Perez and asked him if he was a Raza, prosecutors claimed. Perez asked Acevedo why he wanted to know, and Acevedo briefly walked away before allegedly returning and fatally shooting Perez in the head. Acevedo continued shooting, killing Nathan Billegas, a 14-year-old Chicago Bulls College Prep student, prosecutors alleged.

Also injured were a 14-year-old boy who attends UIC College Prep and a 15-year-old girl who attends Juarez.

Surveillance footage showed Acevedo on campus and in the nearby neighborhood before and after the crime, but Darman said the shooting itself was not recorded. Four people, including a Chicago police officer, identified Acevedo from surveillance images. Two people who witnessed the shooting identified him in photo line-ups.

During a search of Acevedo’s bedroom, police allegedly found four handguns, all with loaded extended magazines attached, and three of the weapons had switches that allowed them to fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull, prosecutors claimed.

Judge Brosnahan ordered Acevedo to serve 100% of the 40 years he received for the murder charges.

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