Man charged with murder for fatal shooting of Chicago toddler

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Left: Julien Gonzalez -- Right: Alexander Varela | Chicago Police

A man has been charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old boy earlier this month in the Hermosa neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

Alexander Varela, 27, was charged with one felony count each of murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm for the fatal shooting of 2-year-old Julien Gonzalez, according to Chicago police.

The shooting happened at 10:17 p.m. on Oct. 6 when Julien and a 18-year-old man were standing near an alley in the 2200 block of North Kilbourn, police said.

Varela was identified at 10:52 p.m. that night as a person who was involved in a fight and “directed a second offender to shoot into a crowd of people, fatally wounding the [2-year-old] toddler and injuring the 18-year-old man,” police said in a statement.

The toddler was struck in the neck and taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:39 p.m., authorities said. He lived in the Clearing neighborhood on the Southwest Side. The 18-year-old was shot in his left leg and taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized.

Varela, who lives in Hermosa, was arrested at 9:19 p.m. Friday in the 2300 block of West Chicago Avenue, police said. He was denied bail at a hearing Monday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building and was scheduled to appear in court next on Nov. 9.

Gonzalez was the youngest person to be fatally shot in the city this year, according to Sun-Times records. Previously, 10-year-old twins who were shot to death by their father before he turned the gun on himself at their West Rogers Park home were the youngest victims.