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Local News

4 arrested in connection with likely gang-related shootout in Joliet

2-year-old boy might lose his leg, police said

JOLIET – A likely gang-related shootout Tuesday night in Joliet ended with a 2-year-old boy in the hospital, fighting to keep his leg, police said.

Joliet police responded about
7:45 p.m. Tuesday to the 400 block of Landau Avenue to a report of a 2-year-old who had been shot, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Al Roechner said.

When police arrived, the boy’s father, Roberto I. Ortiz, 21, already had taken the child to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. The boy’s mother, Vanessa N. Casillas, 21, told police that the family was outside in their driveway when a green older model SUV drove past the residence several times, Roechner said.

The vehicle then stopped in front of the residence, and the passenger fired about four rounds of bullets at them, Roechner said. Police then allowed Casillas to go to the hospital to check on her son.

After an investigation, police recovered five spent shell casings in the driveway, indicating someone from the residence had shot back at the vehicle, Roechner said. Another home in the 500 block of Landau Avenue was struck, as well.

Police confronted Casillas and Ortiz at the hospital with the new information, and Casillas, who has a valid firearm owner’s identification card, said she shot at the vehicle after shots were fired at her, Roechner said.

However, witnesses at the scene and on video footage police obtained showed Ortiz, who does not have a FOID card, shot at the vehicle, Roechner said.

“Vanessa would not come off her story,” he said.

Casillas also revealed to police that she had been allowing Ortiz to use her firearm to protect himself, he said

Casillas was charged with obstructing justice and unlawful purchase of firearms. Ortiz was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated discharge of a firearm, not possessing a valid FOID card and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Another man, Michael A. Ortiz, 27, also was charged with obstructing justice, after the video footage showed him and a 17-year-old picking up shell casings after the incident, Roechner said.

Police have identified the suspects in the SUV – a driver and a shooter – and obtained arrest warrants, he said.

Both Leonardo Ornelas, 21, and Julian Guerra, 18, face charges of attempted murder. Bond was set for both men at $750,000.

Ornelas and Guerra remain at large. The police asked anyone with information on their whereabouts to call detective Shawn Filipiak at 815-724-3023,
or to call Crimestoppers of Will County at 800-323-6734.

“[It] appears to be gang-related,” Roechner said. “[The] father stated he has been shot at in the past by these subjects, and they are gang members. He has gang affiliations.”

The 2-year-old was in surgery Wednesday afternoon and might lose his left leg, Roechner said.

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