Deadly Joliet shooting caused by gang dispute, prosecutors say

Elian Raya (left) and John Roy Hernandez Jr.

A dispute between rival gang members in Joliet was the motive behind a deadly shooting earlier this month, prosecutors said.

Elian Raya, 20, and John Roy Hernandez, Jr., 22, both of Joliet, have been charged with the first-degree murder of Fernando Contreras, 23, who was killed in a shooting June 1, prosecutors said. Two other men were wounded in the incident.

The shooting occurred in the 400 block of Krakar Avenue.

Before Raya’s arrest, he had been out on bond in a 2021 shooting case. Hernandez had also been out on bond in a separate 2022 attempted murder case.

Hernandez and Raya are “known affiliates” of the Latin King gang, and Raya had a “longstanding gang-related dispute” with a member of the Vice Lords gang who was wounded in the June 1 shooting, prosecutors said.

“Gang-related evidence establishes the motive for this offense,” prosecutors said.

Videos obtained by police showed two suspects circled Contreras’ residence in a vehicle twice before the shooting, prosecutors said.

Afterward, two suspects exited their vehicle, walked toward the property, entered through an open fence and stood on the property for about two minutes, prosecutors said.

The two suspects then fired off their guns multiple times, prosecutors said.

A neighbor reported hearing about 15 shots at the time of the incident.

Contreras suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, a second victim suffered a graze wound to the head and third victim was struck four times, prosecutors said.

The three victims – along with other people – were watching a fight on TV inside their home at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said.

Officers recovered 31 shell casings that were fired from two separate 9 mm handguns, prosecutors said.

Raya also has been charged with aggravated fleeing from police in a chase that went from Interstate 80, Illinois Route 59, Jefferson Street and then concluded in Shorewood.