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Confusion remains on whether Jose Padilla was shot to death as retaliation or robbery. But two Racine teens have been arrested on homicide charges.

DeShawn Ellison, 17, was charged Wednesday by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by an adjudicated delinquent. If convicted of both charges, Ellison faces life in prison plus 15 years and/or fines up to $25,000.

Christopher S. Webster, 18, was charged with being party to a crime first-degree homicide.

According to the criminal complaint, the Racine Police Department responded to a report of a single shot being heard May 22 near 12th and Center street. The officer found Padilla, 19, unresponsive on the ground near 1207 Center Street. The officer called for rescue and started life-saving tactics.

A witness told police that he went to his Webster’s house to smoke marijuana. He only had a $20 bill to pay the $5 cost for the drugs. The witness and Padilla went to go get change.

As they went to leave, two males wearing hooded sweatshirts over their head came out of the doorway of the residence.  One of the suspects told Padilla and the witness, “Oh yeah” and shot Padilla with a shotgun in the back. The witness ran to his house where he called the police.

During the interview with the witness, another investigator told the officer that Padilla had died at Ascension – All Saints Hospital.

An anonymous tipster called Crime Stoppers and said Ellison “shot the ‘boy.’” Police tracked Ellison down by matching his booking photo with a photo on Facebook. They noted that he was friends with Webster who sold them the drugs. The witness was able to identify Ellison in a photo line-up.

Ellison, a student at Case High School, was taken into custody.

During an interview with Ellison, he initially denied that he was at Webster’s residence, but later told them he was. He then said he was asked by the person selling the drugs to commit a robbery.

“Ellison stated that he and ‘J’ went inside the residence and as the victim was leaving the residence, they emerged from inside and ‘J’ shot the victim,” the complaint states.

He later claimed that “it was retaliation in reference to a previous robbery that the victim committed against ‘J,’” but the story continued to change. The officer noted in his report that no property was taken during the robbery.

Ellison is being held at the Racine County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. June 5 in Racine County Circuit Court.

Editor’s note: This version of the story was corrected to include the second person arrested in the shooting, Christopher Webster.


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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.