Corey Morgan has been arrested in Chicago for the killing of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, an execution-style slaying that shocked the nation.
Police said at a news conference on Friday that Morgan, 27, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Lee earlier this month, the Associated Press reported. Lee was gunned down on November 2 in what was described as an intentional shooting to get back at the boy’s father.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Tyshawn Lee was lured into an alley by gang members in the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, where the boy’s grandmother lived. Police said at the time that Lee was walking home when he joined some others into the alley.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) November 27, 2015
The boy’s father, Pierre Stokes, was allegedly part of a feud between members of one gang, a rift that had turned violent in recent weeks. Stokes said he knew his son was intentionally targeted.
“If he wasn’t a target he wouldn’t have gotten hit so many times in the back and the face. I think he was a target,” said Stokes (via CBS News).
But the killing of Tyshawn Lee became complicated. Police said Stokes refused to cooperate with investigators, which appeared to frustrate police.
“Let me put it this way. We’ve tried to interview him at least twice,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “I can’t even tell you what he said because you can’t say it on TV. But he made it emphatically clear that he’s not cooperating with us.”
Tyshawn Lee’s mother came under fire as well. After some friends and family set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the boy’s funeral, Karla Lee was accused of using some or all of the $17,000 raised to buy herself a new car, DNAinfo reported. The revelation left many angry, with some angry comments left on the fundraiser’s page.
“I’m speechless that Karla Lee would use the funding to bury her son to go purchase a car,” wrote Wendy Casey. “Why couldn’t you waited until after the funeral? You say, your son would have wanted you to have it… Let’s not use selflessness and stupidity on the death of your son. Your son would’ve wanted you to be a parent, a responsible parent by having a life insurance policy on him and yourself so your family members and friends would not have to raise burial expenses. This culture of silliness, selflessness, ignorance and stupidity must stop!!!!”
Friday’s arrest of Corey Morgan brought a major step in a case that shocked the nation, even in violence-plagued Chicago. McCarthy called the killing “the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing.”
But police said they had a hard time finding witnesses, as many were reportedly afraid of retribution from the gang members. Community leaders played their part in solving the case. A coalition of local clergy leaders called on witnesses to come forward, and a local priest named Rev. Michael Pfleger offered to pay to relocate any witnesses who were willing to come forward.
“What happened to Tyshawn Lee took us to a new low,” Pfleger said. “This wasn’t a drive-by. This was not a spray of bullets. A baby was executed. A baby was assassinated right behind us in this alley.”
Investigators also offered a $35,000 reward for information that led to the killer.
Police did not say whether Corey Morgan was a gang member or reveal his connection to the slain Tyshawn Lee.
[Image via Lee family/CBS News]