Prosecutors in Chicago have failed to charge a suspect identified in photo lineups as the shooter who killed a trans woman and her mother in a home invasion in January. Three other victims were wounded, including two other trans women.
The suspect, who remains unidentified because he hasn’t been charged, has two other pending cases in Cook County court, records reveal: a felony residential burglary count and a misdemeanor count of domestic battery.
The 19-year-old suspect lives in the same apartment complex as the victims did, on Chicago’s South Side.
Get the Daily Brief
The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you:
The police report for the mass shooting details how two people “kicked in the front door and began shooting” at about 1:40 p.m. on January 23. Unique Banks, 20, and her mother Alexsandra Olmo, 43, were killed at the scene. Three other victims were hospitalized in critical condition.
One witness told investigators they had seen two males running north from the courtyard building wearing green camouflage. The shooting took place on the second floor, where two individuals forced their way into the apartment and demanded cash.
Three days later, Chicago police executed a warrant at the same apartment complex, according to an arrest report obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times through a public records request.
The suspect was arrested but released from custody on January 29, according to the report, with the case marked as a continuing investigation.
“After a review of the initial information brought to us by CPD, we informed police that additional evidence was needed before a final charging decision could be made,” a spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office said.
Chicago police said the investigation remains “open and active.”
The five victims were ambushed by two young men in ski masks. One of the trans women, shot seven times, managed to escape and made her way to a nearby McDonald’s, where she called for help.
The mother of that woman told Fox affiliate WFLD she believes there was a connection between the perpetrators and one of the victims, and that the shooting was a hate crime. “They don’t have a good heart,” she told reporters.
Contacted by the Sun-Times, Banks’ father, Omar Burgos, said he hasn’t heard from police or prosecutors and was unaware a suspect had been arrested, let alone released.
“That’s messed up,” said Burgos, who lives in Florida and traveled to Chicago to attend his daughter’s funeral.
“Something must’ve happened there because that’s a weird story,” he said. “There’s more to the puzzle.”