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Aurora gang member guilty of gun offenses Co-defendant's case is pending


February 4, 2016

An Aurora street gang member is facing prison after being convicted for unlawfully possessing a handgun and pointing it at an Aurora police officer.

Erik J. Esparza, 20 (d.o.b. 7-5-1995), of the 3N block of East Mary Lane, St. Charles, was convicted late Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, by a Kane County jury of unlawful possession of a firearm by a street gang member, a Class 2 felony, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a Class 2 felony, and aggravated assault, a Class A misdemeanor.

Prosecutors presented evidence that at about 7:20 p.m. July 11, 2015, two Aurora police officers who were inside an unmarked police car and working undercover in the vicinity of Parker Avenue and Pearl Street on Aurora’s near east side saw Esparza and the co-defendant. The defendants, both street gang members, were acting suspiciously. As the undercover vehicle approached the defendants to investigate, Esparza raised a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and pointed it directly at one of the officers. The officer, fearing for his life, then fired two shots at Esparza. No one was hit. Esparza and the co-defendant immediately fled on foot. The co-defendant was captured near the scene. Police found Esparza lying in weeds between two garages in the 300 block of East Ashland Avenue about 1½ hours later.

Judge Tegeler set Esparza’s next court appearance for 1:30 p.m. March 18, 2016, for motions and sentencing. Esparza faces a sentence of between three and 10 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Esparza remains in custody at the Kane County jail, where he has been held in lieu of $200,000 bail. Bond was revoked upon conviction.

The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Joseph Cullen and Alexander Bederka.

The co-defendant’s case is pending.

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