Five men involved in a deadly gang-related gunfight in Austin were released when prosecutors declined to charge any of them with felonies, including first-degree murder, reported Daily Wire.
According to an official police report and a law enforcement source familiar with the case, the audacious mid-morning gunfire resulted from an internal argument between two sections of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, which left one shooter dead and two suspects wounded.
Police wanted to charge all five individuals with murder and aggravated battery, according to the source. However, a Chicago police spokesman said the suspects had “been freed without charges” by Sunday morning.
Prosecutors “decided that the evidence was insufficient to meet our standard of proof to approve felony charges,” Cristina Villareal, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, said on Sunday. Villareal stated that police officers agreed with the decision, reported Chicago Suntimes.
The five men were released, infuriating Chicago officials such as Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Despite evidence of involvement in gang violence, the Cook County prosecutor freed another person from detention last week for the same reason.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been a vocal opponent of Foxx’s office, citing Foxx’s generous bail procedures, which often allow even violent criminals to remain free pending trial. Lightfoot warned that Foxx’s move might throw the city “into disarray.”
“If they do not feel like the criminal justice system is going to hold them accountable, we’re going to see a level of brazenness that will send this city into chaos,” she said of suspected gang members. “And we cannot let that happen.”
“It’s complicated, for sure, but we really urge the state’s attorney herself to get personally involved, look at the evidence,” Lightfoot told media at a press conference on a separate issue. “And I believe that there are charges that can be brought at a minimum against the individuals who initiated the gunfire. We can’t live in a world where there’s no accountability.”