Antonio Smith Jr. was standing in his backyard on August 20 when he was shot to death, and now Chicago police say four gang members intentionally killed the boy while hunting for rivals.
At a news conference, Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy said the community helped to identify Smoth’s alleged killers.
“The community refused to stay silent and provided us with vital information that culminated in the arrest of these three offenders,” McCarthy told reporters, before a fourth man was arrested.
Police said the alleged killers were from the Sircon City faction of the Gangster Disciples gang, and were driving around on August 20 looking for members from a rival GD faction called Pocket Town. When they saw two men believed to be members of the gang, the alleged gunman, 19-year-old Derrick Allmon, reportedly walked to a separate car and retrieved a gun from 22-year-old Jabari Williams.
It was then that 9-year-old Antonio Smith Jr. came upon the scene, police said.
“As Allmon approached his intended targets on foot, he came across Antonio Smith in the rear yard of a residence,” McCarthy said. “Believing that Antonio Smith was yelling a warning to his intended victims, Allmon shot Antonio Smith multiple times, wounding him fatally.”
His bloodied body was found a short distance from there. Paramedics brought Smith to a nearby hospital, but he was pronounced dead.
Police said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity, and that Smith was not affiliated with the Pocket Town gang.
McCarthy said the gun was linked to another homicide and a separate shooting both in this year, McCarthy said.
“Chicago’s murder problem is a gun problem,” he said. “It’s too easy to get a firearm.”
Also arrested were Michael Baker and Paris R. Denard, both 19. Police said they arrested Jabari Williams after an investigation that lasted months, and he later admitted his connection to the murder of Antonio Smith Jr. and told police names of the others involved.