Four plead not guilty in shooting death of Skokie high school student

Paige Leskin, City Editor

The four men arrested in connection with the September shooting of two Skokie high school students pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of first degree murder and attempted murder.

The four men, all 19, are charged with the first degree murder of Maxwell Gadau, 17, and the attempted murder of a 17-year-old female who has not been identified by police, authorities said.

In a Cook County court appearance Monday morning, the defendants, three from Chicago and one from Skokie, were arraigned on the charges, according to the clerk’s office of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The four were indicted in front of a grand jury on Oct. 28.

Since their arrests Oct. 5, the men have been held by the Cook County Department of Corrections after being denied bond at appearances before Cook County judges on Oct. 5 and 6, police said.

A 17-year-old who police believed to be the gunman was arrested on the morning of Oct. 6, but released from custody the next day because of rights under the Illinois Juvenile Court Act, officials said.

Police believe that the two students were shot on Sept. 28 after an arranged drug deal turned violent, authorities said.  

Officers responded to calls of shots fired around 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 28 and found the two students in a car in the 9200 block of Kedvale Avenue, police said.

Both Gadau, whose parents are from Evanston, and the girl were transported to Evanston Hospital, 2650 Ridge Ave., where Gadau was pronounced dead, police said.

An autopsy showed Gadau died from a gunshot wound to the back, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. His death was ruled a homicide.

Gadau and the girl were both students at Niles North High School, according to a statement from the school.

“This terrible crime has affected our entire school community,” Niles North principal Ryan McTague said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Max’s family, with the family of the injured girl, and with the families of all the students who are affected by this event.”

A memorial service for Gadau was held Oct. 5 at the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston, 1427 Chicago Ave. A candlelight vigil was held the night of Oct. 6 on Kedvale Avenue where the shooting took place.

The four men are scheduled to appear next in Cook County court in January.

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Twitter: @paigeleskin