Two juveniles are being held on $5 million bonds after prosecutors say the two chased down a Waukegan High School volleyball coach and counselor before fatally shooting her in Waukegan.
David Dejesus, 16, of Waukegan, and Yahir A. Torrecilla, 17, of Waukegan, are both charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Jeffrey Facklam said officers responded around 10:30 p.m. on May 6 to 10th Street and Lewis Avenue in Waukegan for a report of shots fired.
Officers found two vehicles that had been struck by gunfire.
The first vehicle was occupied by a man, who was uninjured but had a bullet hole in his vehicle.
The second vehicle, a white Honda, was occupied by Niolis Collazo, 23, of Waukegan.
Paramedics transported Collazo to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan where she was pronounced dead.
Evidence showed that at least two guns were fired in the shooting.
Video surveillance captured the suspect vehicle that the shots were fired from, Facklam said during a bond hearing.
The video showed the suspect vehicle was chasing after Collazo’s vehicle.
The license plate of the suspect vehicle was registered to a family member of Dejesus.
Officers five days later spotted the suspect vehicle driving around Waukegan and conducted a traffic stop.
Dejesus was driving and the vehicle was seized by police.
Facklam said Dejesus was questioned by officers and he gave different stories about what he was doing on the evening of May 6.
He later allegedly admitted he was in the vehicle on May 6 in the area of the shooting.
Surveillance video later recovered showed Torrecilla getting into the driver’s seat of the suspect vehicle prior to the murder while wearing a red jacket, Facklam said.
Facklam said surveillance showed the same red jacket being worn by the driver after the homicide.
Torrecilla, who was still wearing the red jacket, and Dejesus were later spotted on video surveillance entering an apartment complex.
Cellphone location data recovered from Torrecilla aligned with the video surveillance of where the suspect vehicle had traveled after the murder, Facklam said.
Detectives located four handguns at Torrecilla’s home after executing a search warrant.
One of the guns had a fully automatic switch attached to the gun and a second full-auto switch was located but not attached to a gun. One of the four guns was reported stolen out of Florida.
Detectives found two handguns at Dejesus’ residence during a separate warrant.
Both suspects were arrested around 8 a.m. Thursday in Waukegan during the search warrants.
Collazo was an assistant freshman boys volleyball coach at Waukegan High School and a Working on Womanhood counselor at Edith Smith Middle School in Waukegan.
Collazo was also a former Waukegan High School student who excelled in athletics and music, school officials said.
Waukegan Deputy Police Chief Scott Chastain said last month that Collazo’s vehicle and the second vehicle struck by gunfire were traveling in different directions and they were not connected to each other.
Collazo had no criminal history or other known issues, Chastain said.
Prosecutors did not say during court hearings Friday what they believed the motive for the shooting was.
“Our office is proud of the Waukegan Police Department, who has been working tirelessly on investigating this incident, and of our First Assistant Lauren Callinan, and Chief Deputy of the Criminal Division, Jeff Facklam who worked closely with the Waukegan detectives. Our office will support the victim’s family and seek justice in the court room,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said Friday.
Torrecilla and Dejesus, who are being charged as adults, are scheduled to appear in court again next week.
They are being held at the Hulse Detention Center in Vernon Hills on $5 million bonds.