Gang members working ‘security’ for towing company charged with 2015 murder of Leonardo Morales

Chicago Sun-Times

Carlos Cregan | Cook County Sheriff's Dept.

Carlos Cregan | Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.

Cook County prosecutors have charged two men with the 2015 murder of Leonardo Morales in Garfield Ridge, and both are being held without bond.

The two gunmen were working “security” for a towing company that hired Satan’s Disciples gang members to protect its trucks from rival towing companies, which in turn were protected by rivals of the Satan’s Disciples, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said Tuesday during a bond hearing.

Carlos Cregan and Jonathan Rodriguez, both 30, were apparently on call the night of Aug. 22, 2015, when they went to a bar in Clearing, Santini said. At the bar, they met Leonardo Morales, who, during the course of the evening, told them he was a former member of the rival 2-6 street gang.

Jonathan Rodriguez | Cook County Sheriff's Dept.

Jonathan Rodriguez | Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.

At closing time, the three men chatted outside the bar, when the Satan’s Disciples members got a call that a tow truck driver was squaring off against a driver from a competing company, Santini said. All three piled into a dark-colored sedan and drove to the scene of the tow truck drivers’ stand-off.

When they left the altercation, Morales rode in the tow truck, thinking he would get a ride home. Rodriguez called the truck and told the driver to follow their car, Santini said. The two vehicles drove to an alley in the 5200 block of South Menard, where the three men got out. As Morales lit a cigarette, Rodriguez said he was going to “smoke that mother—-r” and shot Morales in the head from close range, prosecutors said.

Morales, 34, fell to the ground, and both Cregan and Rodriguez stood over his body and allegedly fired into his body. Morales was shot four times, suffering wounds to his neck, head and thigh. The Little Village resident was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police found multiple .40-caliber and 9-millimeter shells at the scene. A witness in the alley at the time identified Cregan and Rodriguez, and Cregan later bragged about the killing to another witness, prosecutors said.

Surveillance video showed the three men outside the bar, then leaving together in a dark-color sedan shortly before Morales was killed; and video also shows the sedan and tow truck pulling into the alley where Morales’ body was found, Santini said.

Cregan on Tuesday was ordered held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder. Rodriguez was ordered held without bond at a hearing Wednesday, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. Both are scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 23.

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