Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old was targeted because of his father’s gang ties, lured into a South Side alley Monday afternoon and executed, Chicago police officials said Thursday.
Speaking at the edge of the Gresham alley where Tyshawn was shot multiple times, Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the slaying “probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime” he had seen in his 35 years in law enforcement.
McCarthy said police believe Tyshawn was killed because of Pierre Stokes – his father’s gang ties and a recent series of shootings between rival gangs.
Law enforcement sources said the bloody conflict involves rival factions of two of Chicago’s oldest gangs — the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stones.
Tyshawn, a fourth-grader at Joplin Elementary School who loved to play basketball, was walking to his grandmother’s house Monday afternoon when police said he was lured to the alley in the 8000 block of South Damen Avenue and shot repeatedly. A basketball he always carried with him was found nearby.
McCarthy told reporters that Pierre Stokes might know who killed his son but that he has refused to cooperate with police. When investigators approached him, Stokes responded with words that “you can’t say … on TV,” McCarthy said.
“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,” McCarthy said. “My reaction would be a little bit different.”
Stokes, who lives a few blocks away, was talking to a Chicago police officer near the scene of his son’s killing when McCarthy’s news conference ended. Reporters asked him to respond to McCarthy’s comments.
“No, I don’t think it was no retaliation because I never did nothing to — for nobody to hurt my son,” he said.
Asked if he had the names of any suspects he could provide police, he answered, “No, I do not.”
Earlier in the week, Stokes, 25, told the Tribune no one would have a motive to kill him, but if someone did there was no reason to take it out on his son because he’s out in the neighborhood all the time. If anyone wanted to harm him, it wouldn’t be difficult, he said.
“I’m not hard to find,” Stokes said.
A local Catholic priest has also said he’s committed to justice for the boy and offered to pay money out of his own pocket to help anyone with information move from Chicago.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of Chicago’s St. Sabina Church and a well-known anti-violence activist said:
“This was not a drive-by. This was not a spray of bullets. A baby was executed,” Pfleger told the press. “We have gone to a new low that’s removed what used to be some codes, some barriers, some lines that used to be drawn in the community, some things in our city that were not acceptable.”