Emilio Corripio should have in jail, or at least a juvenile facility. The 16-year old from Chicago was arrested last year and accused of committing at least three carjackings, but took a plea bargain last October that allowed him to stay out of state custody. Instead, after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking and one count of possession of a stolen vehicle, Corripio was sentenced last month to three years probation.
So instead of cooling his heels behind bars, Corripio was free as a bird last week and able to pal around with a buddy named Xavier Guzman. According to Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy, the pair are responsible for the callous murder of 8-year old Melissa Ortega.
Guzman, an off-duty cabdriver, picked up Corripio in his distinctive cab the afternoon of Jan. 22 and the two began to drive around, Murphy said. When they saw two people at the corner of 26th Street and Komensky Avenue flashing gang signs affiliated with the Two-Six gang, Guzman drove into a nearby alley and stopped the car while Corripio got out, Murphy said.
Corripio fired multiple shots, hitting one of the rival gang members in the back. A man and his 9-year-old daughter were in a nearby car waiting for the Two-Six gang members to leave the area before getting out of their car, Murphy said. Their car was sprayed with Corripio’s bullets.
And 8-year-old Melissa, who was crossing the street holding her mother’s hand, was shot in the head and fell to the ground.
“This 8-year-old girl’s life is over because of this gang nonsense between these two defendants and the rival gang members they’re firing at,” Murphy said, noting that the 9-year-old girl in the car could easily have been shot as well.
Yes, Melissa Ortega was killed because of gang nonsense, but the accused killer received an assist from the Cook County criminal justice system, which could and should have imposed real consequences on the 16-year old for the multiple carjackings he committed last year. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was asked about Corripio’s previous cases at a news conference on Thursday, and in typical Foxx fashion the prosecutor avoided any substantive answer.
Foxx said it’s not a new phenomenon to see a teenager arrested with an adult with a gun and noted the young age of the shooter.
“We have to be able to have, as the mayor has said, a whole of city approach to this to deal with the fact that young people are not going to be able to be incarcerated for the rest of their lives,” Foxx said. “So when they come out of the criminal justice system to be able to have some measures of support to deal with that. Because we are seeing people come back out and reoffend. That is not unique to this situation.”
It’s not that Corripio wasn’t jailed for life because of his carjackings. He wasn’t jailed at all. Foxx offers up a fantastical false choice here because she doesn’t want to answer the real questions: why wasn’t Corripio charged as an adult in these carjackings, and failing that, why was he offered a plea deal that allowed him to avoid incarceration rather than keeping him in juvenile detention until the age of 21 for his crimes?
No gun control law would have prevented this 16-year old from (allegedly) illegally acquiring a firearm and opening fire on a city street, but the criminal justice system could have stopped this shooting before it began. But as more and more Chicagoans are learning first-hand, the criminal justice system offers little justice and even less accountability, particularly for young defendants.
On Thursday, someone whose teenage years have not even started yet also appeared in court on carjacking charges. An 11-year-old boy has been charged with carjacking two women at gunpoint in November in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood.
Police said the boy was arrested Wednesday in West Englewood, after he was identified as one of the carjackers who stole a car at gunpoint from a 36-year-old woman and her 57-year-old mother on Nov. 19, 2021, near 110th Street and Harding Avenue.
… “The kid stopped and looked at me, and my daughter looked at me, and I said, Oh God,’” the 57-year-old victim told us. “Within 20 seconds, a kid walked up and pulled a gun out on us.”
More than two months have passed since the woman and her adult daughter were carjacked and robbed at gunpoint in their Mount Greenwood driveway. The mother asked us not to show her face for fear of retaliation.
… Her shock and fear have, for the most part, been replaced by sadness, but she says she has real concern about young people not being held accountable for their actions.
“I believe they’re being taught that they can do whatever they want and there’s not going to be a consequence,” she said.
That’s exactly what they’re being taught by the criminal justice system, and sadly, the lessons appear to be sinking in. Unless your crime is heinous enough to end up on the front page of the Chicago Tribune or lead the local newscast, chances are that if you’re a juvenile or young adult suspected of a violent offense, there’ll be little to no consequences for your crime even if you’re arrested and charged.
What’s a law-abiding Chicagoan to do? Well, besides voting out every single incumbent elected official in the city and Cook County, I’d advise folks to subject themselves to the lengthy and burdensome process of obtaining a FOID card and your license to carry. Hopefully you never need to use your firearm in self-defense, but with Chicago politicians hellbent on returning violent criminal suspects to the streets as soon as possible, I’d want the option to protect myself at all times.