CHICAGO — A judge denied bond Tuesday for a 20-year-old man charged with gunning down two men during a robbery attempt in Chinatown this weekend.
Dozens of people from the Chinatown community were in attendance as Alvin Thomas, 20, faced homicide charges in the fatal shooting of 36-year-old Hua Yi Bian and 38-year-old Wei Zhong Xiong.
Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy laid out the evidence against Thomas during the hearing Tuesday.
He said Xiong and his wife were returning to their apartment complex with Bian after a night out when Thomas allegedly approached the car to attempt a robbery just after 2 a.m. Sunday.
“This defendant approached victim Xiong on the passenger side and shot victim Xiong multiple times in the face and head,” Murphy said.
Then Thomas allegedly struggled with Bian, eventually firing multiple shots at him, striking him in the skull. After the shooter ran away, Xiong’s wife used her dead husband’s cell phone to call the police.
Prosecutors say surveillance cameras captured Thomas running from the scene of the double murder, heading south on Wells Street toward Chinatown Square Mall.
“Chicago police officers followed bloody footprints left by the defendant,” Murphy said.
Police arrested Thomas shortly after, and say the 9-millimeter gun they found on him was the same one used in the killing.
Speaking on behalf of the victim’s families, friend Terry Wilson said the killings were senseless.
“We’ve all been impacted; we’ve all cried and we’re all angry. There’s no purpose to take a life — any life,” Wilson said.
Wilson said Xiong’s family in China depended on the money he would send home, including his 12-year-old son, mother and handicapped father.
Authorities say Thomas had violated his probation for two robberies in Boystown last July. But after the hearing, Thomas’ mother spoke to reporters, saying she doesn’t believe her son is a killer. He will appear in court again on February 24.
Friends of one of the men killed said he may have resisted because he was carrying more than $10,000 to buy a new car.
A newspaper sold in Chinatown is reporting extensively on this case and said the men were longtime friends, and are from the same town in China.
The Chinatown community plans to hold a candlelight vigil to remember the victims Wednesday at 6 p.m.