CROWN POINT — Surveillance videos failed to persuade a judge to reduce bond Thursday for the man charged with shooting a rival gang member and his son last fall outside the Hobart Walmart.
Lake Criminal Court Judge Salvador Vasquez postponed any decision on Alex Hughes' request for a reduction of his $200,000 bond until police finish analyzing ballistic evidence in the case.
After viewing videos presented by Hughes' attorney, Russell Brown Jr., and Deputy Lake County Prosecutor Michael Toth, the judge said it's possible Hughes wasn't responsible for wounding the boy, but the evidence so far was not conclusive.
"I don't want to do something that could have been prevented at the onset," Vasquez said. "What we have here is a pretty violent act. No question about that. I need more information."
Vasquez said if the case remains blurred after forensic analysis is complete, he plans to grant the bond reduction.
Ballistic evidence could reveal which bullets were fired from which guns.
Hughes, 26, was charged Oct. 2 with two counts of attempted murder, aggravated battery, criminal gang activity and criminal recklessness. He was arrested Oct. 9.
A magistrate initially set bond at $100,000 on each of two attempted murder charges, one linked to the father and a second to the son. Brown urged Vasquez to reduce Hughes' bond on the charge linked to the boy.
Prosecutors amended the charges Oct. 12 to include enhancements for use of a firearm and criminal gang activity.
Brown said he thought the two video clips he presented in court showed conclusively that Hughes did not "author" the shooting that wounded the boy and his father, Kyran Hawthorne Sr.
As Brown presented the videos, he said Hawthorne and his group followed Hughes and Hughes' girlfriend to their car. Hawthorne and his son were wounded by the gunfire that erupted next.
A man in Hawthorne's group fired a gun during the shootout, which shattered store windows and sent customers scrambling for safety. That man's gun was recovered by an off-duty police officer, who encountered the man inside the Walmart after the shooting, court records say.
Brown said the video showed the boy was shot in the stomach while a woman, who was with Hawthorne's group, stood between the boy and Hughes.
Toth presented a total of four videos in tandem. No muzzles flashes were visible.
"It is impossible to say who shot them," Toth said. "It is impossible."
Police have not finished analyzing ballistic evidence in the case, in part, because the gun Hughes claims to have used was not immediately recovered, Toth said.
Police executed several search warrants in the days after the shooting, but never found Hughes' gun, he said.
Weeks later, Brown contacted prosecutors about a gun brought into his office by someone, Toth said.
"Mr. Brown won't tell me by whom," Toth said. "I don't know anything, except I think this might be the gun Mr. Hughes used."
A bullet was recently recovered from the 9-year-old's body, he said.
The boy began experiencing extreme pain, and doctors surgically removed the bullet from near the boy's spine. A second bullet — which wounded Hawthorne's ankle — was recovered shortly after the shooting, Toth said.
The Lake County Sheriff's Department Crime Scene Investigation Unit needed another week to analyze 20 bullet casings, two bullets and the guns, he said. Two guns are of different caliber, so officials are hopeful analysis can reveal which guns fired which bullets.
Vasquez continued the bond review hearing until Feb. 22.