A youth detainee at the County Cook jail was charged with the murder of his cellmate, a 19-year-old man who was a rival gang member, officials said on Thursday. The victim, Pedro Ruiz, was found unresponsive in his cell on February 1, Saturday, at around 2 am by a correctional officer. He was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital with "multiple injuries," where he was pronounced dead.
County Cook Sheriff's office said they had charged his cellmate Christian Gonzalez, 24, for beating him to death in the highly secured Division IX of Cook County Jail. He is accused of beating Ruiz with a sock filled with bars of soap and dragging him by his hair across the cell, prosecutors were quoted as saying by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Ruiz suffered head trauma and severe injuries due to the attack
Ruiz who had head trauma due to the attack suffered severe injuries which prosecutors said were similar to those of a person who had been involved in a car crash.
Taking note of the fact that the incident took place within half an hour after Ruiz was put in Gonzalez's cell, prosecutors have argued, saying that the killing was related to both of them belonging to rival street gangs. Gonzales is a member of the Satan Disciples street gang and Ruiz was a member of a rival Latin Saints gang.
Past rivalry and 'soap sock' violence
Gonzales was charged for the attempted murder without bail of a member of a Latin Saints member during a gang-related shooting. Gonzalez also allegedly fired at least 11 rounds from an assault-style rifle at a father and his three-year-old son, striking the father in the leg and hip and causing the man's son to suffer a graze wound to the leg, according to prosecutors.
Prison records revealed Gonzalez was accused of stabbing and beating a detainee in jail with a "soap sock" in November. Prosecutors said Gonzalez had walked over and dropped a joker playing card on the bleeding detainee in the incident. He was charged with another count of attempted murder after that incident.
Ruiz was held without bail for attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm for shooting a 21-year-old man last week at the West 47th Street neighbourhood, Chicago police said. The sheriff's office released a statement that said it "launched a thorough internal investigation of all the factors involved in this case. We take all acts of violence in the jail extremely seriously and work tirelessly to prevent those intent on committing harm from being able to do so."