Tip nets Clemente slaying arrest

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) - Sunday, February 24, 2013


An anonymous tip — not the cooperation of a pastor’s son with knowledge of a murder — helped police nab a known gang-banger who allegedly gunned down an innocent teenager. 
Larry Luellen Jr ., 34, of Bolingbrook, was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held Saturday without bail in the slaying of Frances Colon, a college-bound Clemente High School senior who police say was gunned down Feb. 15 by a bullet meant for someone else.

The charge came despite the refusal of a West Side pastor’s son to cooperate with the police — even though investigators believe he was the intended target, sources told the Sun-Times.

Authorities said Luellen is a member of the Black P Stones gang with a history of drug arrests, and they think he and the pastor’s 28-year-old son were arguing over a drug deal before the shooting.

Sixteen people showed up in court in support of Luellen Saturday but declined to comment.

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Saturday an anonymous tip helped lead police to Luellen .

Authorities said Luellen got into a drug-related dispute with the intended target 20 minutes before the shooting, went to a barber shop to get a gun, then returned, chasing the man and firing six times but missing him, instead hitting Colon once in the upper back.

Officers nearby heard the gunshots and found Colon in the 1100 block of North Pulaski. She was able to identify herself to police.

The 18-year-old Colon — the third Clemente High School student killed so far this year — had never gotten into trouble with the police, authorities said.

The pastor, who requested anonymity, said he urged his son to cooperate with the police, accompanying him to speak with detectives, but the son changed his mind and refused to talk.

McCarthy said of the intended victim: “We are trying to compel him to testify.”

“His cooperation would obviously make the case that much stronger,” he said. “But at this point, we have a statement from Mr.Luellen , we have identification of Mr. Luellen by independent witnesses, and the fact is we’ve got a good strong case — good enough to charge him.”

McCarthy said the intended target “should not have been on the street” because he’d been charged with assaulting an officer but had been released from custody.

“While he’s not the shooter, not the victim, he was the intended target,” McCarthy said. “If he had been incarcerated, perhaps this crime would not have occurred.”

Contributing: Frank Main

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