Man charged with murder of 14-year-old Leonardo Betancourt after accidentally shooting himself

Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Robert Morales | Chicago Police

Robert Morales | Chicago Police

Chicago Police say they solved the May 2 murder of 14-year-old Leonardo Betancourt in Back of the Yards when the suspect accidentally shot himself in the arm last weekend.

Robert Morales, 26, was charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, according to police.

Morales fatally shot Leonardo at 6:34 p.m. May 2 in the 4500 block of South Ashland, according to police.

The boy was in the back seat of a vehicle heading north when other family members in the car heard gunshots and realized he had been shot in the back, police said. The driver took him to a firehouse a block north in the 4400 block of South Ashland.

Leonardo Betancourt | Facebook

Leonardo Betancourt | Facebook

Leonardo, who lived in the 4500 block of South Hermitage, was then taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:34 p.m., the medical examiner’s office said.

Morales implicated himself in the murder after he accidentally shot himself in the arm about 4 p.m. Saturday at his home in the 4500 block of South Fairfield, police said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital.

He initially claimed that he was outside the home when someone shot him, but police later learned he had shot himself. That led to the felon in possession of a firearm charge.

On Monday, he was ordered held on a $2 million bond, , according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. He is next scheduled to appear in court July 29.

Police said it was unclear whether the boy was the intended target of the shooting.

Leonardo was nearing the end of seventh grade at Seward Communication Arts Academy, where he was described as a stellar student, voracious reader and military history buff, whose goal was to join the U.S. Navy.

A GoFundMe page was set up at the time of his death to help the family with funeral costs.

blog comments powered by Disqus