Teen sentenced after pleading guilty to 2022 shooting near Chicago high school that killed 2 teens

CHICAGO (AP) — A teenager who pleaded guilty to a 2022 shooting near a Chicago high school that killed two teens and wounded two others has been sentenced to more than four decades in prison.

A Cook County judge sentenced Christian Acevedo, 18, after he pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in the Dec. 16, 2022, shooting outside the Benito Juarez Community Academy.

The shooting on Chicago's southwest side killed Brandon Perez, 15, and Nathan Billegas, 14, and injured two other teens shortly after classes were dismissed.

Acevedo, who was 16 at the time, was charged as an adult in February 2023 in the attack.

A judge sentenced Acevedo on Monday to 46 years in prison, including 20 years for each murder count, and another six years on the attempted murder charge. Acevedo must serve all 40 years on the murder charges and 85% of the six-year sentence, meaning he faces no less than 45 years in prison, said his attorney, Nicholas Giordano.

He called the shooting a “tragedy all around" during Monday's hearing.

“The whole thing was unfortunate. Two people were killed and he's taking responsibility for it. But he'll be spending a significant part of his entire life behind bars," Giordano told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Acevedo had attended the Benito Juarez Community Academy during the 2021-22 academic year but prosecutors said he was expelled for behavior, academic and attendance issues. Perez was a student at the school, while Billegas attended Chicago Bulls College Prep, police said.

Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Bonnie Greenstein said Monday that shortly before the shooting, Acevedo approached a group that included Perez and Billegas and asked if they identified with the street gang “La Raza.”

Greenstein said that in response, Perez asked why he wanted to know and that Acevedo turned as if to walk away before he turned around and fired at the group, the Chicago Tribune reported.