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Illinois prosecutors rejected charging five suspects in a deadly gang-related shootout that unfolded in Chicago, despite police reportedly seeking to charge all five suspects with murder and aggravated battery. 

The shootout took place in the Austin community of Chicago Friday morning, and was reportedly sparked by an internal dispute between two factions of the Four Corner Hustlers gang, the Chicago Sun Times reported, citing an internal police report and a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation. 

Five men were taken into custody over the shootout, which required a SWAT team response and led to police finding more than 70 shell casings. One shooter was left dead and two of the suspects wounded. 

The police source told the outlet that law enforcement sought murder and aggravated battery charges for all five suspects.

By Sunday morning, however, they were released without charges.

“Mutual combatants was cited as the reason for the rejection,” a police report reviewed by the Chicago Sun Times said of the state attorney’s office’s decision. The report also noted that the suspects weren’t cooperating with investigators. 

Mutual combat is a legal phrase defined as a “fight into which both parties enter willingly, or in which two persons, upon a sudden quarrel, and in hot blood, mutually fight upon equal terms.”

Fox News attempted to verify the statement in the police report, but Chicago Police said a FOIA request must be filed to obtain the report. A FOIA request has since been filed.

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office, however, issued a statement that painted a different picture on why the charges were dropped. 

Prosecutors had “determined that the evidence was insufficient to meet our burden of proof to approve felony charges,” Cristina Villareal, a spokeswoman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, said, adding that police agreed with the decision. 

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’s request for comment on the police report citing mutual combat as the reason for the rejection of charges. 

“It’s just like the Wild West,” the source told the outlet of the gun crimes on Chicago’s West Side. 

A similar “mutual combat” incident also reportedly unfolded in Schaumburg, Illinois, last week after an 18-year-old man was stabbed to death in an incident caught on film. 

Manuel Porties Jr. died last Tuesday after he met with another teenager for a one-on-one fight, according to his family. Porties Jr. was punched in the face, fell, and then reportedly stabbed in the neck by the 17-year-old.

The 17-year-old was charged with a misdemeanor, and Porties Jr.’s family said prosecutors declined to file a murder charge, citing mutual combat.

“They’re saying that it’s mutual combat,” Porties Jr.’s father told WGNTV. “How is it mutual combat when my son didn’t have anything to combat with the only thing he had was his two hands?”

“He stood over my son and finished him, and that’s not murder?” the father added. 

The Cook County state’s attorney’s office released a statement on that case, saying the evidence was “insufficient to meet our burden of proof to file murder charges.”

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