Karl F. Bonilla has pleaded guilty to two shootings that took place a month apart in spring 2011 in Elgin.
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:47PM
An Elgin man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to trying to gun down people he mistakenly thought were rival gang members during two separate shooting incidents last year in the city.
Karl F. Bonilla, 20, of the 400 block of Lowrie Street, agreed to the sentence in exchange for a guilty plea to multiple counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, each a Class X felony.
Associate Judge Clint Hull accepted the plea.
According to police and the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, at about 5 a.m. on April 23, 2011, in the parking lot of a restaurant in the 300 block of South McLean Boulevard Bonilla fired a .25-caliber handgun at a group that had just left the business. A woman was struck in the upper right arm by the gunfire and Bonilla immediately fled.
At about 12:30 a.m. the following May 23, Bonilla fired multiple shots from a .22-caliber handgun at a group on the porch of a residence in the first block of Woodland Avenue, Elgin. Three people were struck, including the victim from the April 23 shooting. One victim was struck in the left shoulder, one was struck in the ankle and one was struck in the buttocks. Bonilla immediately fled after firing the shots, authorities said.
Elgin police arrested Bonilla three days later on a warrant in an unrelated case. Bonilla at the time of his arrest was in possession of a .22-caliber and a .25-caliber handgun. Subsequent ballistics tests revealed that the .22-caliber handgun matched shell casings recovered at the scene of the May 23 shooting. The victim from the April 23 shooting identified Bonilla as the person who shot her. Also, a witness told police that she saw Bonilla at the scene of the April 23 shooting at the time of the incident.
Authorities believe that Bonilla, a known street gang member, mistakenly believed he was shooting at members of a rival gang. Authorities also believe it to be coincidental that the same person was a victim in each shooting, prosecutors said.
The sentence was seven years for the count involving the April 23 incident, and six years each for the three counts involving the May 23 shootings. The sentences are to be served consecutively because Judge Hull ruled that the victims suffered severe bodily injury as a result of the shootings.
All of the victims continue to recover from their injuries, which were severe but not considered life-threatening, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
Bonilla must serve at least 85 percent — or about 21 years — of the sentence. He was given credit for at least 519 days served in the Kane County jail.
The case was investigated by Elgin Police detectives Tom Wolek and John Fennell, and prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney William Engerman.