Two days before 18th birthday, teen accused of firing volley of deadly gunshots in front of his own mother, prosecutor says

  • In US
  • 2021-10-17 22:55:00Z
  • By Chicago Tribune

A West Side feud among childhood acquaintances that included a robbery and retaliatory beating led to a shooting in the South Austin neighborhood last month that left a 20-year-old man dead, prosecutors said Sunday.

Authorities accused Joshua Scarver of firing 25 shots at two men attempting to flee by bicycle down an alley in the 600 block of North Central Avenue on Sept. 16. Three of the shots struck Charles Starks Jr., 20, who was later pronounced dead at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, authorities said.

Scarver, of South Austin, faces first-degree murder charges in Starks' death and was ordered held without bail pending trial during a hearing broadcast on YouTube.

The September shooting took place two days before Scarver's 18th birthday and occurred in front of his mother, who was inside the dark green SUV where he grabbed the firearm, prosecutors said in court.

Scarver and his mother were arrested over the weekend following police surveillance on the vehicle. While in custody, she gave investigators a videotaped statement that she witnessed her son fire the shots. Scarver gave several versions of what happened before admitting to being at the scene of the shooting, prosecutors said.

The shooting stemmed from a "hostile" ongoing feud between Scarver's group and one involving Starks and his childhood friend who escaped the shooting unharmed. A week before the shooting, Scarver robbed the two victims of money and marijuana, which prompted associates of the victims to beat up Scarver, authorities said. The surviving victim had been friends with Starks for years and had known Scarver since fourth grade, prosecutors said.

The two victims were headed to a barbershop when they encountered Scarver in an alley near his home, authorities said. Scarver then allegedly punched Starks in the face and quickly retrieved a handgun from the passenger side of the SUV used by his mother, authorities said.

The second victim fled to a youth center where he contacted police. A second eyewitness saw a person later identified as Scarver walk out of the alley holding a gun in his right hand before getting into the SUV.

Judge Susana Ortiz cited the statement by Scarver's mother and the danger to the community as factors in denying Scarver bail. "There'd be no better person to be familiar with Mr. Scarver's identity than his mother," the judge said, adding that the eyewitnesses and physical evidence made a strong case against him. "The facts here as alleged are that this residential street was sprayed by handguns," she said.

The judge also barred contact between Scarver and any witnesses, including his mother. Ortiz added that if any extenuating circumstances arose where mother and son would need to speak, the exact details could be hammered out at a future hearing.

Scarver is expected to return to court Tuesday.


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