A man convicted of shooting two rival gang members as he walked home from West Chicago's Railroad Days festival was sentenced Wednesday to 26 years in prison.
DuPage County Judge Blanche Hill Fawell imposed the term on Christopher Einecker, 23, who was found guilty of the July 2010 shooting by a jury in September.
"It's lucky no one died," Fawell said.
Prosecutors said the West Chicago man was walking home from the city's Railroad Days festival with another man, Bradley Taylor, when the victims drove by and yelled gang slogans. Einecker fired several rounds after the vehicle returned, striking one man in the chest and another in the leg, according to testimony.
The shooting happened about 10 p.m. in the area of Freemont Street and Grand Lake Boulevard -- a residential area with children nearby, Assistant State's Attorney Ken Tatarelis said.
In court Wednesday, Einecker offered apologies to the victims -- both 17-year-old high school students when they were shot. He maintained he was not the shooter.
"I'm apologizing for everything they went through," he said. "I don't wish that upon anybody."
Taylor, then of Warrenville, initially confessed and was charged as the shooter. But police later secretly recorded Einecker saying Taylor was only covering for him.
Authorities also recovered DNA matching Einecker from the .25 caliber semiautomatic gun used in the shooting, prosecutors said.
State's Attorney Robert Berlin credited West Chicago police for untangling the evidence that ultimately led to Einecker.
"Thankfully, Mr. Einecker's outrageous behavior did not result in the loss of life," he said in a statement.
By law, Einecker must serve at least 85 percent of his term, or about 22 years. He has already served nearly 18 months in the county jail.
Taylor pleaded guilty to resisting or obstructing a peace officer and received probation in exchange for his testimony at Einecker's trial.