A 9-year-old Chicago boy was lured into an alley and gunned down because of his father’s gang ties, police say.
Tyshawn Lee was targeted by his killer and shot Monday afternoon in the city’s South Side near his grandmother’s housem police said. He “was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing,” police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Thursday at a press conference.
“This is not a stray bullet, not a drive-by — this is multiple gunshots to a child and only that one person shot,” Reverend Michael Pfleger told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There’s no question that this is targeted and that it’s an execution.”
The shooting happened at about 4:15 p.m., police said. Police said they are still investigating.
“We believe that this is the most recent in a series of gang-related, violent events,” McCarthy said.
Tyshawn’s father, Pierre Stokes, 25, told reporters he does not believe he is the reason his son was killed.
“I don’t believe it’s retaliation because I never did nothing for nobody to hurt my son,” Stokes said Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Father Is Not Cooperating in the Investigation, Police Say
Police said Tyshawn Lee’s father is in a gang that has tied to in a string of violent events.
“We believe Tyshawn’s father has ties to a gang that is in conflict with another gang,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Thursday. McCarthy said Tyshawn’s father is not cooperating with police investigators.
The boy’s father, Pierre Stokes, told reporters he doesn’t know the answers to the questions police are asking.
Stokes said if someone was trying to get to him, they wouldn’t have to go after his son.
“I’m not hard to find,” Stokes told the Chicago Tribune. He also expressed anger with the police.
“They’re more worried about me. Why are you worried about me, not the killer?” Stokes, 25, said outside his residence in the Auburn-Gresham community. “I’m not the killer. Worry about the killer.”
He would not say specifically if he was in a gang or not, the Tribune reports.
Tyshawn’s killing is believed to be connected to two South Side gang murders, the Chicago Tribune reports, citing law enforcement sources.
The Tribune reports Tyshawn’s death could be connected to the murders of Tracey Morgan, a 25-year-old killed on October 13, and 19-year-old Brianna Jenkins five days later. A member of a gang that rivals Morgan’s gang was also wounded in the second shooting, the newspaper reports. A relative of Tyshawn belongs to the same gang as the wounded man, and police sources told the Tribune the boy might have been shot as continued retaliation for Morgan’s death.
Tyshawn was shot several times at close range, police sources told the Chicago Sun-Times.
His grandmother, who lives nearby, came outside to find that her grandson had been shot.
“I saw the body in the alley. He was lying in blood,” Bertha Lee told the Chicago Tribune. “But I didn’t see his face.”
2. His Mother Is Pleading for Anyone With Information to Come Forward
Tyshawn’s mother, Karla, posted a heartbreaking video to Facebook after her son was fatally shot.
“Thanks for all your support,” Lee said through tears. “All I can do is just pray. This s**t hurts. It hurts. I miss my son.”
She is pleading for anyone with information to come forward to help find her son’s killer.
“I just want justice for my son. Whoever knows anything, please let the police know. Please. He was only nine. He didn’t deserve this,” said Karla Lee, his mother, at a news conference.
Tyshawn was a student at Scott Joplin Elementary School.
“I was angry, I was upset, I was hurt – all at the same time. There is no one here protecting these kids,” said Lakesha Alexander, a parent at the school, told ABC Chicago.
3. The Basketball He Brought to School Every Day Was Found Near His Body
The basketball that Tyshawn brought to school with him every day was found near his body, according to the Chicago Tribune.
His mother told the newspaper her son loved playing basketball and dreamed of being in the NBA. He was a student at a local elementary school, and also enjoyed video games.
She says he told her, “Mom, when I get older I’m going to take care of you, I’m going to get you a new house.”
“He was going to make me real proud of him. I believed every word my son said,” Karla Lee told the Tribune. “He’s a good kid. He didn’t deserve that, he didn’t deserve that,” she said through tears. “Emotions? They’re gone. I don’t have my baby no more.”
4. $17,000 in Reward Money Has Been Offered for Information Leading to the Shooter
According to ABC Chicago, $17,000 in reward money is available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
The money has been offered by local churches and other organizations.
“This child should be in a classroom tomorrow,” anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes told the Chicago Tribune Monday night. “The perpetrators who discharged this weapon shouldn’t have no bed to sleep in tonight. … This was a baby. This child should have been walking to school in the morning,” Holmes said, “not taking a ride to the medical examiner’s office.”
5. A GoFundMe Account Has Been Set Up to Help Pay for Tyshawn’s Funeral
“The only thing that’s making me smile through this pain is to know that people helping my friend be able to lay her baby to rest and trust me she really appreciate everyone who sent they condolences and keeping her in you all prayers and donations to help towards her son homegoing we thank you all!,” wrote Chaquela Moore.