Elk Grove shooting suspect's attorney: My client is innocent

 
 
Updated 1/11/2019 1:02 PM
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  • Cameron Ruebusch

    Cameron Ruebusch

  • Stephen Casazza Jr., center, pictured with his parents at the hospital, is recovering after being shot three times New Year's Eve as he was delivering mail in Elk Grove Village.

    Stephen Casazza Jr., center, pictured with his parents at the hospital, is recovering after being shot three times New Year's Eve as he was delivering mail in Elk Grove Village. Courtesy of Elliott Osborne

  • Ralph Meczyk

    Ralph Meczyk

The new attorney for an Elk Grove Village man charged in the New Year's Eve shooting of a postal worker said Thursday his client is innocent and will ask to be released while he awaits trial.

Ralph Meczyk, attorney for 24-year-old Cameron Ruebusch, appeared in court Thursday, where a federal judge set a detention hearing for Tuesday, Jan. 15. Federal prosecutors want to keep Ruebusch in custody, but Meczyk will argue he be allowed bail.

Ruebusch's previous attorney, who appeared in court on his behalf last week, waived Ruebusch's right to such a hearing, but Meczyk asked the judge to revisit it.

"These are baseless charges," Meczyk said in an interview after the court appearance. "They're without merit and we are going to vigorously defend them and I know we're going to prevail. He's innocent."

Meczyk declined to elaborate on his statement or what type of defense he would present in court.

Ruebusch, of the 200 block of West Brantwood Avenue, is charged with assaulting a federal employee with a weapon in connection with the shooting of 36-year-old mail carrier Stephen Casazza Jr. in a residential Elk Grove neighborhood. If convicted, Ruebusch could face as much as 20 years in prison.

At a village board meeting this week, Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson said the house where Ruebusch lives -- only three doors down from Johnson's -- is being purchased by an investor who plans to flip the property.

Johnson said neighbors have long complained about problems at the house, which has been the site of several police responses over the years. Authorities are limited in what they can do, he said.

"The issues with that house and the people there will be gone for good," Johnson said Tuesday. "We understand people's frustrations. We understand issues have been going on for a time, but trust me, it's not due for a lack of us caring.

"Maybe we have to push the envelope a little bit now and then," the mayor said. "I've got my grandkids at my house. ... We're well aware of it, too. We live there also."

Meanwhile, Casazza, of Arlington Heights, was released from the hospital Wednesday after nine days of recovery and treatment.

His friend Elliott Osborne set up a GoFundMe fundraiser Thursday to help defray medical expenses. The online fundraiser, which as of Thursday had received $560 in donations, can be found at gf.me/u/px6yv3.

Casazza, who was shot in the back, chest and forearm, underwent surgery and a blood transfusion but faces a long road of recovery, including treatment for a badly damaged artery, Osborne said.

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