– Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Monday that the suspected gunman in the weekend killing of an off-duty officer shot "the first Hispanic man he came in contact with" after an earlier petty dispute with a separate group of Latinos.

The "nightmare" began about 2:25 a.m. Saturday, in the city's River North neighborhood, police said, when the suspect identified as Menelik Jackson got into a confrontation with some Hispanic men on a party bus.

The suspect returned later with a gun, but the men were no longer there, Johnson said.

In what Johnson called "an act of cowardice," the suspect opened fire into a parked car a block from the initial confrontation, fatally shooting off-duty Chicago police officer John P. Rivera, 23, and critically wounding the officer's friend, also 23, who is in the military reserve.

At a news conference at police headquarters, the superintendent said that the department would pursue possible hate crime charges against Jackson for targeting Rivera. Two others in the car, including another off-duty officer, were uninjured.

At a bond hearing, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered that Jackson, 24, of South Holland, and co-defendant Jovan Battle, 32, of Chicago, be held without bond on one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

"Both gentlemen pose a real and present threat to the victims, the live victims in this case, this community and every other human being on the planet that they come into contact with," the judge said.

Cook County prosecutors said the confrontation outside a McDonald's with the men from a party bus escalated after a third suspect yet to be arrested was punched in the face. The fight was caught on surveillance cameras but broke up when police arrived.

Chicago Tribune