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Local News

Will County Coroner reports say Romeoville teen's death was accidental

Cases still pending against two men arrested after fatal shooting

The death of an 18-year-old teenager who was killed by a gunshot wound to the head was considered accidental by the Will County Coroner’s Office and Romeoville police. 

Carlos Gasca of Romeoville died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head Jan. 17. Two of his friends – Eric Alhourani, 20, and Marco Mesina, 20, both of Romeoville – were arrested in connection with Gasca’s death. 

All three were inside a red Buick Verano at Walmart on South Weber Road when Gasca suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to police and coroner reports. 

Alhourani and Mesina were later arrested and charged with possessing two handguns, several types of drugs and cash. The drugs, guns and money were found in the car, police said.

Alhourani also was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm. Both men were later charged with giving the police false information. 

The manner of Gasca’s death was considered accidental, according to the coroner’s office’s investigative report on the incident. Romeoville police Cmdr. John Ferdinardo also said Gasca’s death was accidental. He said the police department had finished its investigation.

“It wasn’t an intentional act,” Ferdinardo said. 

The criminal cases against Alhourani and Mesina are pending. Alhourani’s attorney, Steve Haney, said he considered the coroner’s findings a “positive development” for his client. He said it was too early to tell if the case will go to trial. Mesina’s attorney, Zaid Abdallah, declined to comment. 

When asked if additional charges would be filed in connection with Gasca’s death, Will County State’s Attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney said she didn’t want to speculate.

Gasca’s mother, Dolores Garcia, started an online fundraiser for her son on GoFundMe that said her family suffered a “tragic accident” when he died. She did not respond to a message for comment. 

The coroner reports said the shooting that led to Gasca’s death appeared to be caused by an accidental discharge of a firearm that occurred inside a car shortly after 4 p.m. Jan. 17.

Mesina reportedly drove the car to a Lockport Township fire station on Renwick Road to seek help for Gasca, according to a Romeoville police report. 

Gasca was pronounced dead three days later, after he had been taken to an intensive care unit at AMITA Bolingbrook Medical Center. A single bullet was later recovered from his skull during an autopsy. 

Investigators from the Romeoville Police Department and the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force responded to the Lockport Township fire station, where one of them saw Alhourani “yelling and crying uncontrollably,” the police report said. Mesina was reportedly still sitting inside the car with his head down.

In police interviews with both men, Alhourani was allegedly yelling, slamming the table and sobbing, according to the police report. At one point, Alhourani and Mesina apparently were yelling at each other back and forth through the walls while they were in separate interview rooms.

It’s not entirely clear what the men said in their interviews, as much of the reports obtained by The Herald-News were redacted. The investigators reportedly kept asking the men questions about how Gasca died and how the gun discharged. 

At a Jan. 24 bond hearing for Alhourani, Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Slazyk said both men initially tried to deceive police by concocting a tale of a Vice Lords gang member named “Dubs” shooting Gasca. Slazyk said Mesina also told police that when he was driving the car, he heard a gunshot, turned and saw Alhourani holding a gun.

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