A tragic Chicago murder is not surprising, but when a 9-year-old boy is shot dead execution-style in an alley, it causes even the most cynical to question the depths of depravity. Tyshawn Lee was killed Monday while on the way to his grandmother’s house.
— CNN (@CNN) November 5, 2015
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy believes Tyshawn was murdered because of his father’s gang affiliation and an ongoing rivalry between opposing gangs. Per the Chicago Tribune, law enforcement stated there are conflicts between two of Chicago’s oldest gangs — The Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stones. Police said the Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stones targeted Pierre Stokes’ son, because the father, a convicted felon, belonged to the Killa Ward faction of the Gangster Disciples. In 2011, Stokes plead guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to six years in state prison.
The murder occurred in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood on the South side of Chicago where gang violence is common. It is highly unusual for a young child to be targeted. Everyone who lives in Chicago, whether they live in a violent, gang-ridden South or West side neighborhood or the more affluent area of the North side, knows of incidents where young children have been killed by gang members. It’s been in the news on more than one occasion. Usually, the target is another person — not the child. Those who live in the most violent areas of the city compare existing there to living in a war zone, and shamefully, civilians and children are often the casualties of gang warfare.
In young Tyshawn’s case, McCarthy said the boy, a fourth grader, at Joplin Elementary School, was walking to his grandmother’s house on Monday when he was lured into an alley and shot multiple times. When he was found, the basketball that he loved and carried everywhere was nearby.
“We’re pretty certain that this is not an accident. He was not a bystander.”
Unfortunately, police report that Stokes is not cooperating, and when approached by Chicago investigators, Stokes, according to McCarthy, responded with words “you can’t say… on TV,” noted People magazine. Although law enforcement doesn’t believe the father witnessed the shooting of his son and probably can’t help with the investigation, a different response was expected. McCarthy shared his thoughts.
I don’t think he’s a witness to it, so I’m not sure how he could help us. But I could tell you this: I’m a father, many of us here are fathers. My reaction would be a little bit different.
— NewsOne (@newsone) November 6, 2015
Stokes lives only a few block away from the location of Tyshawn’s murder. When asked if the shooting was in retaliation for gang involvement, he reportedly responded, “No, I don’t think it was no retaliation because I never did nothing to–for nobody to hurt my son.” He added that he could not provide suspect names to the police. Stokes also said he’s not the killer, and the police are focusing on him rather than finding the perpetrators.
Rev. Michael Pfleger, a priest at St. Sabina church and a local activist, spoke out about the tragic death of Tyshawn. The clergyman said, “A baby was executed, a baby was assassinated in this alley. We have gone to a new low,” per an ABC News 7 report. To date, there have been no arrests in the case. However, a $35,000 reward is being offered for leads that can result in an arrest on the murder. Pfleger set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who wants to contribute to the award. In a CNN interview, the priest said he understands that people are afraid to speak because of fear of retaliation, and he will personally help relocate anyone who can give information on the murder that leads to an arrest.
Another tragic Chicago murder has occurred, and it shouldn’t be business as usual. Perhaps Pfleger’s offer of funds for relocation will motivate someone who has information to come forward. Anyone with information on the shooting should call 312-747-8271. A funeral will be held for Tyshawn Lee on Tues., Sept. 10, at St. Sabina Catholic Church. Visitation begins at 10 a.m. with a funeral service at 11 a.m.
[Image: Lee Family/Mirror]