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Boy injured and parents charged in Joliet shootout

A likely gang-related shootout Tuesday night in Joliet ended with a 2-year-old boy in the hospital, fighting to keep his leg, police said.

Joliet police responded just before 7:45 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a 2-year-old who had been shot, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Al Roechner said.

When police arrived, the boy’s father, Roberto I. Ortiz, 21, had already taken the child to a New Lenox hospital. The boy’s mother, Vanessa N. Casillas, 21, told police the family was outside in their driveway, when a green older model SUV drove past the residence several times, Roechner said.

The car then stopped in front of the residence, and the passenger fired about four rounds at them, Roechner said. Police then allowed Casillas to go to the hospital to check on her son.

After some investigation, police recovered five spent shell casings in the driveway, indicating someone from the residence had shot back at the vehicle, Roechner said. Another home in the area was struck, as well.

Police confronted Casillas and Ortiz at the hospital with the new information, and Casillas, who has a valid Firearm Owners Identification card, said she shot at the vehicle after shots were fired at her, Roechner said.

However, witnesses on the scene and video footage police obtained showed Ortiz, who does not have a FOID card, shot at the vehicle, Roechner said.

“Vanessa would not come off her story,” he said.

Casillas also revealed to police she had been allowing Ortiz to use her firearms to protect himself, he said

Casillas was charged with obstructing justice and unlawful purchase of firearms. Ortiz was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated discharge of a firearm, not possessing a valid FOID card and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Another man, Michael A. Ortiz, 27, was also charged with obstructing justice, after the video footage showed him and a 17-year-old picking up shell casings after the incident, Roechner said.

Police have identified the suspects in the SUV and are in the process of obtaining arrest warrants, he said.

“(It) appears to be gang-related,” Roechner said. “(The) father stated he has been shot at in the past by these subjects, and they are gang members. He has gang affiliations.”

The 2-year-old was in surgery Wednesday afternoon and might lose his left leg, Roechner said.

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