A Cook County judge on Thursday ordered a 19-year-old man accused of firing the shots that killed a 7-year-old boy at his West Side home, who was being held without bail, shortly after prosecutors dropped m*rder charges against a second young man linked to the d*ath.

Joseph Serrano, 19, of West Garfield Park, has been charged with first-degree m*rder for the October 26 killing of Akeem Briscoe, whom authorities believe was an unintentional victim. Police said a 16-year-old boy was charged as a juvenile with first-degree m*rder.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Akeem was shot in the stomach around 8:15 p.m. while brushing his teeth before bed at his home at 2600 West Potomac Avenue.

According to prosecutors, Serrano and the other two, including minors, targeted a vehicle parked behind Akeema’s apartment building, which contained four people. These individuals were believed to be responsible for an earlier shooting involving a Campbell Boys gang member, and the new shooting served as retaliation, Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Pekara told the court.

Serrano and one of his accomplices allegedly fired a total of 16 shots from separate .40 caliber handguns at the vehicle but missed its occupants, Pekara said. One of the targets returned fire.

According to authorities, one of the bullets entered Akeem’s house through a window and hit him in the back.

Authorities said video footage captured three suspects traveling to the scene of the shooting and escaping afterwards. The liquor store camera captured the faces of the criminals before the shooting, Pekara said.

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Serrano was a high school student who worked part-time and helped raise six siblings after his mother died of c*ncer last year, according to his private attorney John McNamara. The lawyer asked the judge to dismiss the prosecution’s request, pointing out that no one had identified Serrano as the gunman and that the case was largely circumstantial.

At the end of the 25-minute hearing, Judge Barbara Lynette Dawkins noted the “exhaustive” investigation by law enforcement, which used multiple surveillance camera footage to track suspects and social media records received under a court order approving the state’s request to deny bail. She also spoke of the authorities’ “extensive leads” against Serrano.

Prior to Serrano’s questioning, prosecutors dropped m*rder charges against an 18-year-old man linked to the same shooting without explanation. Court records showed that the criminal charges were approved by Chicago Police Chief Detective Brendan Deenihan. On rare occasions, police officers have brought criminal charges against a defendant without the consent of the State’s Attorney’s Crime Control Division.

A Chicago police spokeswoman declined to comment on the dropped charges, turning to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. A representative from the state’s attorney was not immediately available.

Serrano is expected to return to the court next Friday.

wlee@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @midnoircowboy

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