A man from Ashburn, Chicago, was charged with murder for shooting a teenager to death. The accused claimed that he did so in an act of self-defense.

According to the police, the incident took place Thursday (May 7) morning, when the suspect, identified as 54-year-old Steve Kawar, open fired at a car, hitting a teenager who was later pronounced dead.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office later identified the teen as 16-year-old Rodrigo Rangel.

According to local reports, Rangel and his three friends were in their car parked next to a gas station near 83rd Street and Pulaski Road when they spotted Kawar’s son in a car. The identity of the boy was not revealed.

According to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, the group, who were members of a street gang called Ambrose, “mean-mugged” Kawar’s son, mistaking him to be a member of their rival gang. The prosecutor said the group tailed the boy as he left the gas station and chased him through the neighborhood “to scare him”.

The boy then called Kawar and the duo stopped their vehicle near 83rd Street and Springfield Avenue, blocking the way forward for Rangel and his gang. Kawar then got out and walked onto the middle of the street, and opened fire at the gang’s vehicle.

According to the police, Kawar claimed that he started firing only after someone from Rangel’s vehicle fired at him. However, an Uber Eats driver who was coming behind Rangel’s car told police that he saw Kawar opening fire before anyone else did.

Out of the several shots that Kawar fired, one of them hit Rangel in his head. The gang immediately managed to get out of the scene. The prosecutor said the driver and front-seat passenger fled on foot after driving a short distance away. A girl who was in the back seat then drove Rangel to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was later pronounced dead.

According to the prosecutor, Kawar remained at the scene and picked up his shell casings before tossing them down the street. He then spoke to the Uber Eats driver, saying that he saw “Mexican gangbangers flying down the street.”

During the investigation, officers found an exit hole in the windshield of the car that Rangel was in. They also recovered a shell casing from the vehicle indicating that someone in Rangel’s car fired a shot, but a close investigation revealed that the location of the bullet hole points out that Kawar fired first.

The prosecutor said that the Uber Eats driver also saw Kawar shooting first, as he saw smoke rising from his gun when the first shot was heard.

Kawar was charged with first-degree murder. His bail was set at $350,000.

window gunshot hole
Representational image of a bullet hole in a window. Scott Barbour/Getty Images