Teen Charged With Using ‘Ghost Gun’ to Fatally Shoot Motorist From Inside Irving Park Apartment

A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

A teenager allegedly used a “ghost gun” to fire from a third-story Irving Park apartment out onto the street below, killing a passing motorist in what prosecutors described as a completely “random” shooting.

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Gaven Leon, 18, was charged Monday with one count of first-degree murder stemming from the unprovoked Feb. 3 shooting of 30-year-old Ryan Balbag, who was killed as he drove down West Irving Park Road with two of his friends.

“This defendant randomly shoots at the vehicle, supposedly because the vehicle — according to the defendant — was being too loud,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

A Cook County Judge ordered Leon held without bail Monday, citing what she referred to as “voluminous” evidence that the teen was responsible for the killing.

The shooting occurred at around 11:30 p.m., as Leon sat in his bedroom inside an apartment that overlooked the intersection of Irving Park and Pulaski Road. According to Murphy, Balbag and his friends were stopped at that intersection.

Leon allegedly had an unserialized “ghost gun” equipped with a green laser, which he pointed out his window at the vehicle below and fired one shot. Murphy said the gun jammed, but Leon reloaded and fired again.

Balbag was struck once in the head and taken to the hospital where he later died.

According to Murphy, another person inside the apartment saw Leon fire the shots at the van, and he later confessed to a friend that he had shot at the vehicle because it was being “too loud.”

After he was identified and arrested, police recovered several videos and pictures from Leon’s phone of him “trolling” police during their investigation of the shooting, Murphy said. In one video recorded just after the shooting, Leon allegedly filmed police cars with their lights and sirens on and said “this is legendary footage right here.”

According to Murphy, Leon could be heard laughing as he went on to state: “Who would do such a thing? Thank you for coming, appreciate it. They said somebody got to shooting, I know who did it too, I know who was shooting too. … This s–t is funny as hell.”

Leon also had a picture of him holding a rifle similar to the one used in Balbag’s murder, Murphy said, and allegedly posted a comment confessing to shooting at someone in a different vehicle days before the murder because they were doing “burnouts” early in the morning.

After his arrest, gunshot residue was located on Leon’s windowsill and on the clothes he was seen wearing in the video recorded just after the shooting, Murphy said.

Leon is due back in court for a hearing June 13.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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