Gang member charged with ordering shooting that killed Chicago 2-year-old: police

CHICAGO -- Bond was denied for a man charged in connection to the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old.

Known gang member Alexander Varela, 27, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery.

Police said he is not the one who pulled the trigger, but that multiple witnesses told them he ordered the shooting.

The shooting happened on Saturday Oct. 6 on the 2200 block of North Kilbourn Avenue in the Hermosa neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

An 18-year-old man and 2-year-old Julien Gonzalez were standing next to each other in an alley when shots were fired from the end of the street.

On Monday, Chicago police held a news conference and discussed what was going on before the shooting happened.

"This was a birthday party people were celebrating when this occurred, petty argument between women this offender chose to insert himself into the argument," Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said.

Police said Varela was not a guest at the party, but lives in the neighborhood.

Witnesses told police Varela ordered a fellow gang member of his to take out his gun and start shooting.

The 18-year-old victim was hit in the leg and survived. Julien was shot in the neck and died at Stroger Hospital, becoming the youngest person to be fatally shot in the city this year.

Police held a roll call two days after the shooting near that corner, which had a huge turnout. More than 100 people in the community showed up, and detectives said it was tips they received after the roll call that led them to the suspect.

Chicago police said this is a very active and ongoing investigation, and they are working to find the man who pulled the trigger as well.