CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago man was charged with first-degree murder on Friday in connection to the slaying of a 9-year-old boy who police say was lured off a basketball court and shot in the head in an alley because of his father’s gang ties.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said 27-year-old Corey Morgan, who has an extensive criminal history, had been arrested and charged. McCarthy said two other men, included one jailed on an unrelated gun charge, also were suspected of involvement in the death of Tyshawn Lee, who was shot in the middle of the afternoon near his grandmother’s house.
McCarthy said the men’s precise roles were still under investigation but that all were members of the same gang, which the police chief vowed to destroy, saying: “That gang just signed its own death warrant.”
Tyshawn was shot Nov. 2 in a slaying that shocked a city already grimly familiar with gang violence. The fourth-grader was hit in the head and back in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. McCarthy praised local residents, saying they overcame fears and risks of retaliation to come forward and offer tips to police.
“If you have a monster who’s willing to assassinate a 9-year-old, what is that person likely to do if they know that somebody’s cooperating with the case?” McCarthy said during a news conference.
He said the boy’s killers approached him in a park where he was playing basketball with friends, spoke with him, and then walked him off into the alley. McCarthy called the killing an “unfathomable crime.”
Investigators said the dispute that led up to the killing had been ongoing for about three months between warring gangs and involved at least two other killings and several non-fatal shootings. Authorities said Morgan was a convicted felon with an extensive violent criminal history, but didn’t provide details.
The law firm representing Morgan did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment on the case.
Detectives have not recovered the murder weapon, but they believe only one person fired because all the spent bullet casings were from a single gun, McCarthy said.
McCarthy said police were looking for a third man and believed he was still in the area. McCarthy called on the man, whose photo was released, to turn himself in.
“Quite frankly, in a heinous crime like this, he’s probably better off if we catch than somebody else,” he said.