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Portage Park mass shooting suspect held without bail

Mother of 2009 victim says Portage Park mass shooting could have been prevented
Mother of 2009 victim says Portage Park mass shooting could have been prevented 02:53

CHICAGO (CBS) – A judge ruled that the man charged with murdering three people and critically wounding another in the mass shooting outside of a party in Portage Park over the weekend would be held without bail.

Samuel Parsons-Salas, 32, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of kidnapping related to the early Sunday shooting.

Police said he admitted to the shootings and apologized for killing one of the victims who was hiding behind a car.

Samuel Parsons-Salas, 32, was arrested in connection with a mass shooting in Portage Park that left three people dead and another critically injured. Chicago Police Department

In court on Wednesday, prosecutors said the incident started at around 2:20 a.m. on Sunday when someone hit Mariah Vera, 25, whose birthday was being celebrated at the party. Her father Ricky Vera, 50, approached Parsons-Salas outside asking who hit his daughter.

Then Parsons-Salas retrieved a gun from a car and shot Ricky Vera in the head and chest, killing him. The suspect then fatally shot family friend Mario Pozuelos, 26, who was standing nearby. 

He also shot Mariah Vera as she was kneeling over her wounded father and rendering aid to him. Mariah was hit in the head and is in critical condition with bone fragments in her brain.

Portage Park mass shooting suspect held without bail 02:20

Prosecutors added how Parsons-Salas then noticed Mercedes Tavares, who was hiding behind a nearby white van. He approached her and shot her at close range. As she lay shot on the sidewalk, the suspect stood over her and shot her again.

Police said Parsons-Salas fled in another vehicle with another person inside. On Wednesday, prosecutors said that person was Parsons-Salas' girlfriend of two weeks. She ran into a car when he started shooting. Parsons-Salas then got into the car, pointed a gun at her head and told her to drive. She tried to crash the car in hopes of escaping but Parsons-Salas told her to keep driving. They made it to an apartment where he also threatened her if she tried to call anyone.

This is the source of the kidnapping charge.

Parsons-Salas was released on supervised release in September of this year, stemming from a September 2009 armed home invasion that left two people dead in the Albany Park neighborhood. Angelina Escobar and her fiancé, Alex Santiago, were shot and killed in that 2009 home invasion and robbery in the 3500 block of West Sunnyside Avenue.

He was charged in that crime in 2014. Another defendant, Christopher Doehring, is serving a life sentence for pulling the trigger.

Suspect in Portage Park mass shooting had been released from prison for prior offense 03:09

The next year, Parsons-Salas was charged with assaulting a jail guard.

Court records show Parsons-Salas pleaded guilty in 2018 to two charges after a plea deal related to the 2009 incident. He was sentenced to eight years in prison, but got credit for four years and eight months already served. Prosecutors could not say why he received the plea deal.

CBS 2 was able to connect with Diane Lauletta, the mother of 2009 home invasion murder victim Escobar.

"I don't know what idiot entity would let a demon like that out on the street," said Lauletta.

Lauletta was appalled at the punishment in her daughter's case and is horrified to hear Parsons-Salas is accused of more violence.

"Whoever let him out, how do you sleep?" Lauletta said. "How can you sleep at night? How can you sleep knowing that three more innocent people are dead?"

She said the Portage Park mass shooting waws a crime that could have, and should have, been prevented.

"I was utterly appalled," she said. "I knew that something bad would happen - and I was proven right."

Lauletta, who held a Zoom call with us from Los Angeles just after throat surgery Wednesday, has met Parsons-Salas before.

"Illinois should be ashamed," said Lauletta, "because three more people are dead because of this this creature - and it didn't have to happen."

She emphasized that while Doehring was the one convicted of pulling the trigger in the 2009 home invasion, Parsons-Salas was also very much involved.

"He enabled them. He drove them there," she said. "He enabled them to be murdered."

Now, Parsons-Salas is behind bars again – less than three months after getting out on supervised release.

"Who is going to apologize to these families on behalf of the court system?" Lauletta said.

The Illinois Department of Corrections said Parsons-Salas wasn't "granted parole," but was out on supervised release at the time of this past weekend's homicides because his sentence for the home invasion was up. 

GoFundMe has been set up for funeral and medical expenses for the Vera family. 

GoFundMe has also been set up for the family of Tavares, the mother of three babies. 

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