Tyshawn Lee's mother has received stark criticism for reportedly using funeral donations to purchase a brand new car. Although Karla Lee admits she recently purchased a 2015 Chrysler 200, she insists she used her own money.
On Monday, November 2, police officers discovered the body of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee in an alley on Chicago's east side. Authorities later determined the fourth grader was lured into the alley and shot multiple times amid a gang dispute.
As reported by Huffington Post, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy confirmed Tyshawn's father, Pierre Stokes, is a known member of a Chicago gang. The superintendent believes his son was targeted and killed by members of a rival gang.
During a press conference, Pierre vehemently denied the allegations. The grieving father said he simply wants his son's killer, or killers, brought to justice.
"I just want to see justice for my son... My dealings and what I do has nothing to do with my son, period. It's crushing me, I can barely breathe at times when I think about it. I start crying and hyperventilating."Although Stokes denied any involvement with a gang, he refused to cooperate with authorities in their investigation into his son's death.
As reported by ABC News, authorities have not identified any specific suspects. However, a "person of interest" agreed to a police interview on Wednesday afternoon. Although the unidentified man was interrogated for nine hours, he was not taken into custody and charges were not filed.
As authorities continue their investigation into the 9-year-old's brutal death, his mother expressed concern -- as she cannot afford a funeral. To help offset the expenses, Chaquela "Moving Forward" Moore started a Go Fund Me donation page for Tyshawn Lee's family on November 2.
Although Moore only requested $10,000, the donations exceeded $17,000 within four days.
A 9-year-old boy was shot dead in Chicago. That's not where his story ends. https://t.co/BgQyPJNALF pic.twitter.com/M2lkKSfZPJAs reported by WGN-TV, Karla Lee is now being accused of using a large portion of the funeral donations to put a down payment on a brand new car. Although her account no longer exists, Karla responded to the accusations via Instagram.
— Mashable (@mashable) November 8, 2015
In a series of video messages, the heartbroken mother said she purchased the vehicle for her "protection." She further stated that Tyshawn would have wanted her to buy the car so she would be safe.
Local priest Father Michael Pfleger said the 9-year-old boy was killed in an ally near the church he serves. As a social activist, Pfleger said he has seen a lot of senseless violence. However, gangs generally follow a strict "code," which prohibits violence against children.
Unfortunately, things are starting to change. Pfleger said Tyshawn Lee's shooting death underlines the fact that gangs "have gone to a new low."
In recent days, community members have pooled their resources and are offering a $35,000 award to any information leading to the arrest of the 9-year-old boy's killer or killers. Father Michael Pfleger further "offered to personally pay to relocate anyone who came forward with information but was scared of retaliation."
Tyshawn Lee, 9. Executed in Chicago because of his father's gang ties. Dead silence from #BlackLivesMatter. pic.twitter.com/5vfnFOQtkWAuthorities are still seeking any information about the young boy's shooting death, which occurred in an alley neat the 8000 block of South Damon. According to witness reports, Tyshawn Lee was shot multiple times on Monday afternoon. Anyone with information about the crime is encouraged to contact the Chicago Police Department at 312-747-8271.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) November 6, 2015
The 9-year-old boy's funeral is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 10. Visitation will begin one hour prior to the funeral at St. Sabina Catholic Church. Tyshawn Lee's mother is still receiving donations for the funeral on her friend's GoFundMe page.
[Image via Shutterstock/Kzenon]