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Monday, March 31, 2008

Judge Denies Bail for Accused Chicago Teen Gunman

Two Chicago area teens, one 19 and one 17, are being held on first degree murder charges for a Saturday shooting outside Simeon Career Academy. The 19 year old is being held in lieu of a $1million bail, the 17 without bail.

Circuit Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. set bail at $1 million for 19 year old Ronald Little and denied bail for 17 year old Samuel Hill in the parking lot of Simeon Career Academy shooting this year, which left 18 year old Chavez Clarke dead on Saturday, the 20th this year for Chicago Public Schools. Two other teens were arrested in relation to the shooting but released without charges.

Prosecutors Monday said Little pulled a gun from his waistband after he and his three friends were approached in the parking lot of the school by a large, unarmed crowd. An argument broke out. Hill took the gun from his friend and fired the shot that struck Clarke, officials said.

As Hill and his friends ran off, Hill handed the gun back to Little, prosecutors said. When police responded to reports of shots being fired near the school they saw Little drop the weapon, police said.

Hill's lawyer, Howard Weisman, stated that they shooting was in self-defense, and that the men had been confronted by around 18 people in the parking lot. Both he and Gresham Police Cmdr. Eddie Johnson said that there had been previous altercations between the two men and Clarke.

The incident was captured mostly on the schools surveillance equipment and is being examined. Johnson said that he believed that Saturday was chosen by Hill and Little because they thought that there would be fewer security guards and police in the vicinity.

Both teens admitted their involvements in sworn video statements to the police.

School leaders and Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan met with Simeon students behind closed doors this morning, and later made statements in which they called for more gun control. Current Illinois law prohibits the sale of handguns to persons under the age of 21. Hill and Little are both in their teens.

Duncan also compared the two teens to al-Qaeda, stating, "These are basically suicide missions. They are not just destroying somebody else's life, they are destroying their own. They are done forever."

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man