A former North Riverside resident, convicted last month of attempted murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, faces a long stretch in state prison after he’s sentenced at a hearing scheduled for Aug. 8 at the Maybrook courthouse.
After a bench trial on July 12, Judge Noreen Love found 24-year-old Juan C. Avalos guilty of all nine counts of an indictment against him, including six counts of attempted murder, a Class X felony that carries a punishment of 6-30 years in prison.
The charges stemmed from a July 10, 2011 incident between members of rival gangs near the intersection of Northgate Avenue and Traube Street in North Riverside. The gang members lived just a few blocks from one another and had been involved in an ongoing campaign of damaging rivals’ vehicles, ratcheting up the animosity between them in the process.
On July 10, 2011 Avalos and another man reportedly walked past the home of a rival gang member, who lived in the 2500 block of Hainsworth Avenue. Three rival gang members reportedly went looking for Avalos and the other man, and found them just north of the railroad tracks.
Avalos and the other man retreated into the alley between the 2300 blocks of Hainsworth and Northgate avenues after their rivals began throwing rocks from the railroad crossing at them.
At that point, Avalos took out a 9mm handgun from a backpack he was carrying and fired it at least eight times at the three rivals. He didn’t hit anyone, but at least one stray bullet struck a garage. Police reported recovering eight shell casings in the alley.
Avalos fled and remained on the loose until Oct. 6 when he was picked by Stickney police and held on an outstanding probation violation warrant related to a 2009 incident in North Riverside where he was charged and convicted for illegal possession of ammunition.
Police during their investigation learned that Avalos had purchased three handguns in Lyons in the months preceding the shooting at a gun store in Lyons.
Avalos had been free on bond since 2011. After Love found him guilty on July 12, she revoked his bond and Cook County officers immediately took him into custody. He has been at Cook County Jail awaiting his Aug. 8 sentencing hearing.
During the course of their investigation, police also arrested a Riverside man who belongs to the same gang as Avalos. Carlos E. Campos, 24, is serving a five-year sentence for illegal possession of a firearm by a felon after he led officers from the West Suburban Drug and Gang Enforcement (WEDGE) task force, Lyons, the Illinois State Police, and Chicago police on a high-speed chase from Berwyn to the Indiana state line.
On July 13, 2011, police were staking out a Berwyn home they believed might lead them to Avalos. Campos left the house and placed a handgun in the truck of a vehicle, which he drove away from the home.
When police attempted to pull him over, Campos accelerated and sped down Ogden Avenue, Joliet Road, the Stevenson and Dan Ryan expressways, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph. After reaching the Chicago Skyway, Campos’ car broke down and police apprehended him.
It turned out the gun in Campos’ trunk was not involved in the North Riverside shooting. He told police he fled because he knew he’d get prison time if officers found the gun in his car.
Campos was found guilty and sentenced in November 2011. He’s eligible for parole in January 2014.