LOGAN SQUARE — A Logan Square quinceañera last month turned tragic when one guest fatally shot another during a fight, prosecutors said Thursday.
Lionel Serrano, 19, of the 5500 block of West 63rd Place, is facing first-degree murder charges for the fatal shooting that occurred July 23 at the Diamond Garden Banquet Hall, an event space at 3705 W. Fullerton Ave., police said.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maryam Ahmad ordered Serrano held without bail Thursday.
The shooting happened about 1 am, with large numbers of children and family at the banquet hall to celebrate the quinceañera, prosectors said.
Prosecutors said the victim, 34-year-old Carlos Villagomez, was sitting with a friend at the bar when Serrano approached to get a drink. Serrano then “exchanged some words” with the friend, prosecutors said.
Villagomez’s girlfriend — who also is the mother of the 15-year-old quinceañera honoree and Serrano’s aunt — then approached to de-escalate the situation, Serrano walking away from the bar, prosecutors said.
After being separated, Villagomez’s friend walked toward Serrano and his aunt, prosecutors said. That’s when Serrano pulled out a gun and pointed it at the head of Villagomez’s friend, prosecutors said. The two were then restrained by other witnesses, prosecutors said.
“Once he was pushed away, the defendant ran around a table, fighting off people who were trying to hold him back, and approached the area where the victim was standing, and shot the victim point blank in the head from behind,” Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Hanichak said.
Villagomez was shot once in the back of his head. He was taken to Illinois Masonic Hospital in critical condition, where he was later pronounced dead, prosecutors said.
The entire confrontation was captured on high resolution cameras, which also showed captured Serrano fleeing the scene in a car with his sister shortly after the shooting, prosecutors said. Three witnesses relayed a similar version of events in interviews, identifying Serrano as the shooter, prosecutors said.
Serrano was arrested Wednesday at the 4600 block of South Whipple Street. When officers arrived to make the arrest, Serrano fled and was found hiding under a nearby porch, prosecutors said.
Serrano has no adult criminal history, but was on probation for juvenile arrests involving aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated discharge of a firearm, prosecutors said.
An attorney representing Serrano said he worked in construction and was living with his grandmother. The attorney questioned prosecutors’ claims, saying Villagomez had been “violent” with Serrano’s mother earlier in the evening and the gun discharged during a struggle.
“This escalated to the end of the night as people consumed more alcohol, and got worse and worse and worse. So, it’s not what the state portrayed, and there was a reason for it,” the attorney said. “It’s also our position that although my client was armed with a weapon, as they struggled to disarm my client, the gun went off.”
Hanichak said the shooting did not occur in self-defense.
“There was no immediate threat to the defendant,” Hanichak said. “At the time, he decided to take out this gun and escalate the verbal situation that was happening.”
Ahmad sided with prosecutors in denying Serrano bail.
“The court is convinced the defendant brought a loaded firearm to a quinceañera celebration, a family-oriented celebration, one where everyone knows there will be family, and children and elderly people there,” Ahmad said. “He is a real and present danger to others.”
Serrano is next scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 7.
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