A Hobart, Ind., man used a friend's truck to kill a 20-year-old Chicago man, in the process seriously injuring his friend, during a Gage Park neighborhood fight between groups of young men who all belonged to the same gang, authorities said today.
Wenceslao Arriaga, 25, was ordered held in lieu of $1.5 million bail today for the murder and aggravated battery charges against him. Arriaga killed Jose Ibarra, 20, and injured the 23-year-old owner of the GMC Envoy that Arriaga was driving, said Assistant Cook County state's attorney Heather Kent, in a hearing today before Criminal Court Judge Donald Panarese Jr.
Arriaga ran down the two men about 3:20 a.m. Sunday in the 5700 block of South Central Park Avenue, during a fight between young men in the car and a group that had been hanging out on Central Park. At the point at which the confrontation took place, Central Park is a single-car-width alley with a railroad viaduct on one side and homes on the other along the viaduct..
The fight began when the truck drove past a party going on in a garage, police said. While they were driving through the alley, the group in the truck began flashing gang signs at Ibarra and his friends in the alley, prosecutors said today.
Someone at the party, thinking those in the car might be members of a rival gang, threw a brick at the vehicle, police said. The back seat passenger window of the truck was broken, and Arriaga and all the others in the truck got out, and a fight started between the two groups, prosecutors said.
During the fight, those who had been in the truck shouted gang slogans at Ibarra and his friends, and the owner of the truck and Ibarra, neither of whom had weapons on them, began fist-fighting, prosecutors said.
As the truck owner and Ibarra fought, Arriaga got into the truck's driver's seat, revved the engine, then moved the truck backward and forward, then backward again, before driving forward to hit Ibarra, prosecutors said. Arriaga didn't hit Ibarra, but Ibarra fell down, and someone helped him up.
Ibarra and the truck owner started fist fighting again, then Arriaga backed up the truck again and drove forward while accelerating, hitting both Ibarra and the truck owner, and pinning Ibarra under the truck, prosecutors said.
No one could move Ibarra until Fire Department crews arrived, and Ibarra died on the scene, from what the Cook County medical examiner's office determined were multiple injuries and compression asphyxia from being hit and pinned by the truck, prosecutors said. The truck owner's pelvis, one of his femurs, and an arm were broken, and one of his knees was shattered.
After he hit the two men, Arriaga was held in the truck by several people who began to hit him, but he was able to break free, get out of the truck and ran and jumped over a nearby fence, prosecutors said. Arriaga's shirt became caught on the fence and was ripped, and while he was able to get away, police caught him soon after.
Several witnesses identified Arriaga as the man who took the wheel of the car and drove over the two victims, prosecutors said. The whole fight and running down of the victims also was caught on surveillance video.The 23-year-old truck owner was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Ibarra was declared dead on the scene. Arriage himself suffered stab wounds and was treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center, police said.
It was not until after the fight ended that those involved realized that they all were part of the same street gang, police said.
Because of his hospitalization, a police booking photograph was not immediately available for Arriaga, who lives in the 4000 block of Willow Street in Hobart.
Others questioned in the fight have been released without charges, according to police.
Indiana state records show Arriaga is on parole. He was released in March after serving time in prison on a 2011 drug-dealing case.