19 year old Laroy Battle was at a convenience store in 7900 block of South Luella Avenue around 5:00 p.m., June 20, when he was approached by Jasean Francis, 17, and Charles Riley, 16. The teenagers were walking home after buying candy at the store when a brief encounter took place, and Battle ended up shooting them.
All the victims asked him how tall he was, “The victims commented, because, since Battle is quite tall, and they asked him how tall he was and you know, hoped to be that tall someday,” Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told WLS-TV. “And unfortunately, obviously we’ll never see the full growth of these poor children.”
Battle, who was a stranger to the boys, allegedly chased them after having been asked the innocent question before firing at least nine rounds. Francis was shot in the back, chest, and left hand, while Riley suffered gunshot wounds to the back and left leg. Both of them were rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead. A third teenager, who was accompanying Francis and Riley, escaped the shots.
Police released surveillance video of the suspect and community members helped them identify Battle, Deenihan told the station.
The teenagers went down the block and bought candy after seeking permission from their mothers. “He was a kid,” Francis’ aunt Latonya Pettit told WLS-TV. “Liked video games, snacks. That was his thing. He would walk into this hospital gift shop daily and purchase snacks.”
Battle was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. CBS2 has learned that he was handed 18 months’ probation in December 2019 for unlawful use of a weapon in the previous year, which means he violated it at the time of the murders.
Deenihan stated that there had been no altercation between the victims and the suspect before the shooting. He noted that the boys were killed “for no reason.” Battle was denied bond Friday.
Battle is facing some additional charges on top of murder because he was found with some controlled substance at the time of his arrest, the CBS2 report stated.