Two people were charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of an off-duty Chicago police officer over the weekend, authorities said early Monday as they searched for a third person of interest in the case.
Menelik Jackson, 24, and 32-year-old Jovan Battle, of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, were both charged with one felony count of first degree murder and three felony counts of attempted murder, Chicago police said in a statement.
Jackson, of suburban South Holland, was also charged with resisting or obstructing a peace officer, according to police. He was later identified as the gunman who killed 23-year-old John Rivera in what police believe may have been a case of mistaken identity.
Rivera was fatally shot in the city's River North neighborhood early Saturday, according to police.
The shooting stemmed from an earlier altercation inside Chicago's Rock N' Roll McDonald's downtown, authorities said. Police said the gunman and a friend were involved in an altercation with a group of people from a party bus, described as Hispanic.
The altercation turned physical and Jackson allegedly fled the scene. By the time he returned to the restaurant, the party bus had already left, authorities said.
That's when police say Jackson and two others began searching for the party bus and ultimately shot "the first Hispanic man that he came into contact with."
"He got into it with a group of Hispanics, there was a physical confrontation and he wound up murdering a Hispanic so I think that speaks for itself," Johnson said.
At around 3:30 a.m., Rivera was sitting with three other people in a parked Honda Accord in the 700 block of North Clark Street when two unknown males approached the car, according to police, who said one of the suspects opened fire on the car before they both fled the scene.
Authorities said Rivera was shot in the chest, arm and mouth and taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Another 23-year-old man in the car was shot in his chest and arm and taken to Northwestern where he was in "critical but stable" condition and underwent surgery Saturday morning.
Another off-duty Chicago police officer and a woman were also in the car, but were not wounded in the shooting, officials said.
Rivera had been with the department for about two years, police said, and had worked his shift the night before, handling the paperwork on a murder case.
“This appears to be an unprovoked attack against a group of individuals who went out to unwind on a Friday night,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Saturday.
"There’s no problems, there’s no words exchanged,” Deputy Police Supt. Anthony Riccio told reporters Saturday, adding that police were reviewing video surveillance footage of the block.
Johnson said Rivera was "the kind of officer that we want in Chicago. Hard-worker, who loved going out on patrol and solving problems...he helped investigate a tragic murder, helped console a family on an unthinkable loss."
A police procession escorted Rivera's body from the medical examiner's office to the Elmwood Funeral Home on the South East Side Sunday afternoon.
A wake was tentatively scheduled to take place Thursday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a funeral the next morning at 10 a.m. at Annunciata Church, located at 11128 S. Avenue G, according to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.