A nine-year-old Chicago boy on his way to his grandmother’s house was lured into an alleyway and executed because of his father’s gang activities, officials said.
“Tyshawn Lee was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing,” Chicago Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy said Thursday at a news conference near the South Side alley where the boy’s grandma found his body.
Tyshawn’s basketball, which he took everywhere, lay near his body.
Police believe the child’s murder is a direct result of his father, a convicted felon who they said is involved with a rival gang.
“At this point, we believe that Tyshawn was targeted, lured to this spot and murdered. And we believe that this is the most recent in a series of gang-related, violent events that may go back as far as August, may go back a little farther than that,” McCarthy said.
The little boy is the latest casualty in the gang war between the Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stones and the Killa Ward faction of the Gangster Disciples, of which Tyshawn’s father is reputedly a member, law enforcement sources told The Chicago Tribune.
The boy’s father Pierre Stokes, 25, has not cooperated with investigators, McCarthy said.
“We believe Tyshawn's father has ties to a gang that is in conflict with another gang… We’ve tried to interview him (Tyshawn’s father) at least twice. I can’t even tell you what he said because he can’t say it on TV, but he made it emphatically clear that he’s not cooperating with us,” McCarthy said.
Pierre Stokes, Tyshawn’s father, denied that he has been uncooperative, telling reporters: “I don’t know things. I don’t know unless somebody come tell me something. So I can’t be cooperative with something I don’t know.”
Pierre Stokes, Tyshawn Lee's father, at a memorial for the boy (Getty)
No one has been arrested in connection with Tyshawn’s murder. Police released someone without charging him. They described the man as a person of interest who had turned himself in Wednesday.
A $35,000 reward has been raised for tips leading to the arrest and the charging of those responsible with the child’s killing.
The Faith Community of St. Sabina has contributed to fundraising for the reward, which others can contribute to by donating to a GoFundMe account that the Chicago Police created.
Fr. Michael Pfleger, a priest with St. Sabina, said he would personally help anyone who came forward with information about the killer.
“What happened to Tyshawn Lee took us to a new low. This wasn’t a drive-by. This was not a spray of bullets. A baby was executed. A baby was assassinated,” Pfleger said. “If someone comes forward, if some person comes forward and gives the information to make this arrest and they say, well, they’re afraid, I will personally help them relocate to another city out of my pocket.”
Pfleger said Tyshawn’s murder was a new low in Chicago violence.
“Now we're going to target family members?" he asked. "We're going to target mothers? We're going to target grandmothers? We're going to target babies?"
McCarthy agreed, saying: “We’ve got two gangs that are going at it. They are mutual combatants. They are criminals and they are combatants … this is an innocent child. This is a nine-year-old child targeted, lured to this spot and murdered. This is different.
“It takes courage to do the right thing sometimes,” he continued. “And at the end of the day when good people stand up, we’re going to win. That’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to solve this crime, by the way. We’re going to solve this crime with or without the assistance of God knows who. We’re going to make this case. There’s no doubt in my mind these men and woman are going to make this case.”