'Amped up and looking for trouble': 3 charged in West Chicago slaying
Three reputed gang members told investigators they were "amped up" after a night of drinking and "looking for trouble" when they came upon 26-year-old Alexander Nicolas late Nov. 8 outside a party he was attending on the 600 block of East Forest Avenue in West Chicago.
First they beat him, DuPage County authorities said Thursday. Then one of the men shot him in the back of the head.
The three -- Juan Calderon, 21, of Aurora; Emilio Guillen, 27, of Rockford; and Fredi Bautista, 26, of West Chicago -- each are charged with one count of first-degree murder.
Bail was set Thursday at $4 million for Calderon, who is accused of firing the fatal shot, and $2 million for Guillen, who was driving. Bautista was arrested Wednesday near Murphysboro on a $1.5 million warrant and is being driven to DuPage for a formal bail hearing Friday morning.
Assistant State's Attorney Helen Kapas, deputy chief of special prosecutions, said the three men were drinking at a West Chicago bar and were "amped up and looking for trouble" when they left shortly after 11 p.m. Nov. 8.
At 11:19 p.m., Nicolas was seen on a neighbor's security camera leaving the party on the 600 block of East Forest Avenue and walking to his blue Ford Escape. Kapas said Nicolas opened the door and leaned in before walking to the rear of the vehicle.
As he stepped behind his vehicle, the three defendants drove by in Guillen's car. Kapas said it was then that Bautista identified Nicolas as a rival gang member and the video shows the three men stopped and began beating Nicolas.
After the attack, Kapas said Guillen ordered Calderon to shoot Nicolas. "Buke him," he is alleged to have said right before Calderon shot Nicolas once in the back of the head.
The three men then fled in Guillen's car to an acquaintance's apartment on Marshall Boulevard in Aurora. While there, Kapas said, Calderon burned his clothes on a small path near the building.
A mother, walking her child to school on the morning of Nov. 9, discovered the body of Nicolas, lying on his back with his eyes open, and called 911.
On Saturday morning, Rockford police noticed Guillen's car parked about a block away from his residence on the 600 block of Ranger Street, Kapas said. After conducting a brief surveillance on the residence, Rockford police arrested Guillen.
Before his arrest, Guillen had made plans to sell the car to a local tow yard for scrap, Kapas said.
On Monday, Aurora police observed Calderon leaving a Benton Street apartment and arrested him.
Kapas said Calderon initially admitted to being at the bar but not at the scene of the shooting. He later admitted he was there and left his hat but denied knowing who had the gun or fired it, Kapas said.
"It is alleged that these three defendants brutally murdered Alexander Nicolas simply because they believed he was in a rival gang," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement. "This gang-fueled violence must be stopped. The senseless killing of an unarmed man in a residential neighborhood will not be tolerated."
All three men have extensive criminal histories. Guillen has served time on unlawful use of a weapon charges and aggravated battery among others.
Calderon was released on parole Aug. 8 from East Moline Correctional Center after serving more than five years of a six-year sentence for aggravated battery involving the discharge of a firearm.
Bautista was paroled from Sheridan Correctional Facility Aug. 2 after serving two years of a four-year sentence for possession of a firearm by a street gang member.
Guillen is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 5 while Calderon's arraignment was set for Dec. 6, both in courtroom 4014.