A gunman has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for shooting two men in the head, killing one, during a “cold-blooded attack,” which was a case of mistaken identity, outside Poppy’s restaurant in Waukegan.
Jorge Medina, 20, of Waukegan, was charged in June 2022 with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
Medina went on trial, which lasted four days, in late August. A co-defendant, Fernando Andino, 20, of Waukegan, testified against Medina during the trial.
The jury convicted Medina on one count of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
A sentencing hearing was held Tuesday afternoon before Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes.
The mother of Stefan Filipovic, 24, of Waukegan, gave a victim impact statement during the hearing.
She described Medina’s actions as “vicious” and “thoughtless.” Filipovic’s mother said her son had a bright future that was destroyed by Medina.
Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Kalcheim Rothenberg said that Medina perpetrated a “cold-blooded and calculated attack” when he decided to shoot the two victims, who had their backs towards him, at a restaurant in broad daylight on May 29, 2022.
Kalcheim Rothenberg also said that Medina’s actions threatened others in the area. She argued that a long sentence would be necessary to deter others from committing similar shocking acts.
Shanes sentenced Medina to a combined 99 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
70 years was imposed for the first-degree murder charge, which will be served at 100%, and 29 years for the attempted murder charge, which will be served at 85%.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Dino Katris said during an initial court hearing in the case that the Waukegan Police Department responded around 4:51 p.m. on May 29, 2022, to Poppy’s, 1535 Washington Street in Waukegan, for a report of a person shot.
Officers found two men with gunshot wounds to their heads on the sidewalk near the parking lot of the business off of Washington Park.
The business was open at the time and customers were present.
Filipovic died in the shooting while a second victim, a 28-year-old Waukegan man, was rushed to the hospital and survived.
Investigators obtained surveillance videos that captured the shooting.
Katris said the video showed a male wearing a black hoodie, gray sweatpants and a black face mask walking northbound on Washington Park towards Washington Street.
Filipovic and the second victim were both standing on the sidewalk area speaking with a witness in a car that was parked on Washington Park on the side of the business.
The shooter, determined to be Medina, approached the victims and took a shooting stance in the parking lot of Poppy’s.
Medina, who was about 10 feet away from the victims, fired multiple shots at the two victims, Katris said.
Filipovic and the second victim immediately dropped to the ground after both being shot in the head.
In the moments before the shooting, surveillance video showed Medina exiting the front passenger seat of a vehicle approximately a block away from the shooting and walking in the direction of the victims, Katris said.
The vehicle drove northbound on Washington Park and stopped at the intersection of Washington Park and Washington Street.
The vehicle, a BMW 325 that was registered to Andino, drove around the block and picked up Medina, who had turned around and ran south on Washington Park.
Officers spotted the BMW around 7:30 p.m. that day and attempted to conduct a traffic stop on it.
The vehicle did not stop and officers pursued it for several minutes.
The BMW disregarded multiple red lights and stop signs and drove at speeds of over 100 mph, Katris said.
The BMW’s tire blew out at one point and the vehicle came to a stop at Sheridan Road and Franklin Street.
Andino, who was the driver and sole occupant, was taken into custody.
Investigators searched his phone and recovered text messages regarding the shooting.
Katris said that Andino told investigators that he saw Filipovic at Poppy’s and believed Filipovic was involved in the unsolved shooting case of his friend from 2021.
The mother of Filipovic told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that her son was not a gang member and the suspects mistook him for the wrong person.
Andino texted his friend asking about the man he spotted at Poppy’s and then texted that he was going to get Medina.
Andino claimed to be scared because he did not have a gun so he went to pick up Medina at his house, Katris said.
Surveillance video showed a man being picked up at Medina’s residence minutes before the shooting.
Video was used to track the vehicle and its two occupants from Medina’s residence to the block where the shooter was dropped.
Andino said that while in the car, Medina changed into a black hoodie and gray sweatpants and was armed with a gun, Katris said.
Andino told investigators he dropped Medina at a street corner a block from the shooting and stopped his car at the intersection of Washington Park and Washington Street, next to Poppy’s.
Katris said that Andino heard and saw the shooting and then drove around to pick up Medina.
Medina got into the vehicle and told Andino he “dropped both of them.”
Katris said that Andino texted his friend again, this time saying he saw the dude “get hit” and “seen them drop.” Andino then dropped Medina off at his house.
Andino earlier this year pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm, which carries a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Shanes sentenced Andino in October to 26 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Following Medina’s sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said violent offenders have no place in the community.
“Mr. Medina and his accomplice will be incarcerated for decades in response to this premeditated and planned assassination,” Rinehart said.
“Our experienced trial team did an outstanding job of securing justice and safety for those impacted by this horrific crime. Our hearts break for the family of the victim, and we will support them for as long as they need,” Rinehart said.