Police investigate a shooting that left a 16-year-old Highwood boy dead in the 2300 block of Green Bay Road in Highland Park on August 13, 2023. | Photo: Max Weingardt

A judge has denied a request to move a case to juvenile court for a juvenile being charged as an adult in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy in Highland Park last month.

Estiven Sarminento, 16, of Highland Park, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Mary Daly said at the time of Sarmineto’s initial court hearing that officers were called around 11:28 a.m. on August 13 to a call of shots fired and a person down.

Officers found Omar Diaz, 16, of Highwood, who had been shot and was bleeding on the ground in front of a home in the 2300 block of Green Bay Road in Highland Park.

Diaz was transported by ambulance to Highland Park Hospital and pronounced dead.

Daly said Diaz died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

A witness was interviewed and they reported seeing Diaz passing by on Green Bay Road and then seeing a person wearing all black on a bicycle.

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The person riding the bike passed Diaz and then turned around and approached the boy, Daly said.

Police investigate a shooting that left a 16-year-old Highwood boy dead in the 2300 block of Green Bay Road in Highland Park on August 13, 2023. | Photo: Max Weingardt

The witness heard two gunshots and saw Diaz on the ground.

A second witness saw Sarminento ride up to the victim on the bicycle before hearing a loud pop and seeing a flash, Daly said.

The suspect concealed his face and began running away, the witness told investigators.

Investigators recovered data from Diaz’s phone and learned Diaz was on a Snapchat call at the time of the shooting.

Daly said the person who was on the other end of the call told investigators that Diaz had mentioned “Estiven” was following him before hearing the shots being fired.

The bicycle used by the suspect was left at the scene and the owner of the bike told police that they had left it at Sarminento’s home a few days prior.

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Sarminento told the owner of the bike not to “snitch” and threatened to kill them, Daly said.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli said Diaz and Sarminento were “acquaintances” and there was an ongoing dispute between them.

A police canine tracked the offender’s scent at the scene but the scent was lost at a nearby roadway.

Estiven Sarminento, 16, of Highland Park.

Sarminento was later arrested by Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigators and Highland Park police detectives.

Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered Sarminento, who has been charged as an adult, held on a $5 million bond during a bond hearing last month.

“We are grateful to the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force and Highland Park Police for their effective work. Outstanding investigators and innovative technology are important to solving violent crime,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said following the court hearing.

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“We are working with the family and express our ongoing support and condolences. This offender will be held responsible for this brutal execution,” Rinehart said.

Sarminento’s attorney Robert T. Ritacca recently filed a motion in the case requesting the court transfer the proceedings to juvenile court.

Ritacca argued that the matter was not appropriate for the juvenile to be charged in adult court based on factors listed in a state law regarding extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecutions.

During a court hearing Wednesday, a judge denied the motion.

Sarminento remains held in juvenile detention custody.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on October 12 for a preliminary hearing.