LAWRENCE — A local gang member who survived a Sept. 13 gas explosion at his Chickering Road home was held without bail Monday after his arraignment on illegal firearms charges, according to police and court records. 

Christian Figueroa, 20, allegedly fired a gun into the air during a street fight turned gun battle Friday night on High Street. The incident was unrelated to his appearance in court Monday.

A 16-year-old girl was shot in the head at 9 p.m. Friday and was airlifted to a Boston hospital for medical treatment, police said. She remains in serious condition and is expected to survive.

Police expect to charge Figueroa in connection with the Friday night incident. A search is still underway for the second man police say was involved and is the suspected shooter.

Figueroa was arrested over the weekend on an outstanding warrant related to the earlier incident. 

He is charged with two counts of illegally carrying a firearm and illegal discharge of a firearm in the 100 block of Exchange Street on Jan. 1, according to court papers. Some seven spent rounds of ammunition were found in the area. 

Surveillance video shows Figueroa, who is nicknamed "Gigo," pulling an object from his pocket and then "making a racking motion upward," according to documents. 

"Figueroa raises his right hand in the air and a muzzle flash is observed firing upward," wrote Detective Kevin Nigohoisan.

"The gun is still visible in Figueroa's right hand pointing downward ... as he walks off the screen," Nigohosian further reported.

Figeruoa repeatedly is referenced as a "Trinitario" gang member in police reports from the Exchange Street case. 

At Monday's arraignment, prosecutor Timothy Prather asked that Figueroa be held without bail. Defense attorney Socrates De La Cruz did not object.

Figueroa is due back in court for a Jan. 23 hearing to determine if he is a danger to himself or the community. That hearing will determine if bail is set or he continues to be held without bail.

The victim in Friday's shooting is Geylin Pichardo, a Lawrence High School freshman, who was a passenger in a BMW driven by Figueroa. The driver of the car turned onto the 300 block of High Street at 9 p.m. Friday, when Pichardo may have been looking to confront another girl who lives on the street, police said.

Figueroa is accused of firing a gun in the air during the fight. And police say a man living in the area fired at the BMW as Figueroa drove away with Pichardo in a passenger seat, wounding her in the head.

Figueroa drove Pichardo to Lawrence General Hospital and she was later transferred to Boston, police said.

Lawrence High School offered counseling Monday to students and staff struggling with the news that Pichardo was wounded.

Attorney De La Cruz also is representing the Figueroa family in a lawsuit filed against Columbia Gas after the Sept. 13 gas explosions.  

The fire at the family's home at 35 Chickering Road was one of the first of dozens of explosions and fires across the Merrimack Valley that night.

Thousands of area residents were affected by the gas disaster, which was caused by overpressurization of natural gas lines. 

De la Cruz represents Omayra Figueroa and her children Shakira, Christian and Sergio, who is a minor, he said previously. 

According to the civil lawsuit, the entire family was home when "multiple explosions" happened that day. Omayra and Shakira were in the house, while Christian and Sergio were in a RAV4 that family friend Leonel Rondon, 18, had just driven into the driveway.

Rondon, a newly licensed driver, was killed when the home's chimney collapsed on the RAV4.

Christian and Sergio were treated and released at local hospitals for injuries, De la Cruz said.

Shakira, 21, was inside 35 Chickering Road when the house exploded. She suffered extensive leg injuries in the gas-driven explosion and has undergone multiple surgeries.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.  




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