CHICAGO – Prosecutors said the 19-year-old man who allegedly killed two Hyde Park High School students was asked about his tall height prior to the shooting.
Laroy Battle is being held without bail after he was taken into custody earlier in the week at a hotel in Schiller Park. Police said Battle had gotten a haircut and walked with a noticeable limp after the shooting.
He’s accused of killing 17-year-old Jasean Francis and 16-year-old Charles Riley.
They didn’t know Battle, but police said both were killed after an encounter with him Saturday at a gas station.
Riley and Francis were with another friend, who witnessed the entire incident and shooting. Police said the trio went to a gas station to get candy following a trip to the mall.
They noticed Battle in the line and prosecutors said Riley and Francis’ friend noticed Battle had a gun in his waistband.
He then asked Battle about his height because he is very tall, saying he wished he was as tall as Battle so he could play basketball.
Police said Battle then followed the boys and opened fire in an alley near 79th and Luella, killing Francis and Riley.
“There was no altercation, there was nothing to set off Battle to be mad at the kids,” CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said. “They literally just asked him how tall he was because he’s extremely tall.”
CPD said they received several tips after releasing surveillance footage of Battle, who was wearing a dark-colored hoodie, white jeans and only one shoe.
He allegedly dumped the gun in a garbage can. Surveillance footage showed he returned the next day to presumably find it, but CPD already had it.
Battle has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and was on probation for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
A prayer vigil for Francis and Riley is being held Friday night near the shooting scene.