Two reported gang members were arrested after a 17-year-old was paralyzed in a shooting near Collinsville last month.
The teen was shot while walking in the intersection of Art Street and Eva Street in the State Park Place neighborhood in unincorporated St. Clair County just after 9:10 p.m. on Aug. 5.
According to a statement from the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the victim and his friend were approached by a group of at least four males and some words were exchanged. Investigators believe at least two men began to fire at the victim and his friend.
The friend was able to get away uninjured and the victim was shot more than three times in the upper body. Officials said the 17-year-old was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. After undergoing surgery, it is believed that victim will be permanently paralyzed.
On Sept. 4, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office said they believe the victim and his friend were mistaken as rival gang members by Damian O. Armendariz-Vasquez, 19, of Collinsville, and Ladevion Pence, 18, of Granite City. The two suspects are believed to be members of the 155’s Gang, which officials described as a Hispanic gang that operates in the area of State Park Place, Fairmont City and Collinsville.
"We are happy to see these two charged and in custody. Obviously if they are willing to allegedly gun down an unarmed teenager on a Sunday evening walking down the road, they do not need to be out on our streets," St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson said.
Armendariz-Vasquez and Pence are each facing multiple charges, including four counts of aggravated battery and great bodily harm with a firearm, and gang members in possession of firearms.
Pence's bond was set at $1,000,000 and Armendariz-Vasquez's was set at $100,000
A juvenile male was also with the duo when the shooting took place, he is not facing any charges because he was not armed at the time, officials said.