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Peoria man charged in connection with 2009 gang-initiation slaying in Chicago

Jesus Zunig/ phoprovided by Chicago Police

Jesus Zuniga / photo provided by Chicago Police

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Updated: January 21, 2013 3:48PM

A Peoria man has been charged with murder for his role in a 2009 Chicago killing that was allegedly orchestrated as part of an initiation ritual into the Latin Kings street gang.

According to Chicago Police, Jesus Zuniga, 28, faces one count of first-degree murder, though his role in the shooting death of 24-year-old Carlton Ewing on the Southeast Side is unclear.

Zuniga’s role “was sufficient for the state’s attorney to approve murder charges,” said police News Affairs Officer Daniel O’Brien.

Detectives traveled downstate and arrested him at his home on Friday, police said in a statement. Two other men were charged in years past for their role in the murder of Ewing, who did not have gang affiliation, authorities said.

The purported shooter, 18-year-old Robert Schultz, is serving a 25-year murder sentence. Juan Macias, 21, was charged in 2009, though he is not currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to records.

In August 2009 Ewing was riding in a car with three other people in the 9800 block of South Ewing Avenue when a group of males yelling gang slogans and flashing gang signs shot at the vehicle, striking him in the back, authorities said at the time.

Macias yelled out, “GD killers” and motioned for Schultz to fire, prosecutors said at the time

Schultz, then 17, sprung from the gangway he was hiding in and allegedly shot eight times at the car. One of the bullets went through and hit Ewing in the back, an assistant state’s attorney said at a 2010 court date.

Zuniga was apparently with the group when the shooting occurred, police said.

The gang initiation was part of a Latin King organized “Hood Day,” the prosecutor said.

“Hood Days” are designated days when gang members look for rival members so “shorties” — or those hoping to join the gang — can target enemies.

After he was shot Ewing was driven several blocks from the crime scene, where the other passengers in the vehicle were able to call authorities, police said in a release. Paramedics took Ewing to Advocate Christ Hospital, but died shortly thereafter.

Zuniga is scheduled to appear Monday in bond court.

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