Nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee 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 his father’s gang ties and a recent series of shootings between rival gangs.
Law enforcement sources have told the Tribune that the bloody conflict involves rival factions of two of Chicago’s oldest gangs — the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stones. Police believe the Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stones targeted Pierre Stokes’ son because his father, a convicted felon, reputedly belongs to the Gangster Disciples’ Killa Ward faction.
Last month, a Killa Ward member was wounded and a teenage woman killed in a retaliatory shooting just days after a Terror Dome member was fatally shot and his mother wounded, according to police.
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 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.
In the Tribune interview, Stokes did not talk specifically about whether he was a gang member but said he disagreed with what police have said about him. He also expressed frustration with Chicago police, saying investigators seem more interested in him than in finding who fatally shot Tyshawn.
“They’re more worried about me. Why are you worried about me, not the killer?” Stokes said outside his residence in the Auburn-Gresham community. “I’m not the killer. Worry about the killer.”
But Stokes said he did think his son was targeted, citing how he was shot multiple times.
Earlier Thursday, Stokes showed up at the Leighton Criminal Court Building for a status hearing on a felony gun charge he faces. His attorney didn’t appear, so the judge gave him a continuance after Stokes mentioned “my son was killed.”
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