A Chicago man has been arrested and charged with murder after police said the 27-year-old gang member helped lure 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee into alley on the city’s South Side and shoot him in the head in an apparent gang retaliation against the boy’s father.
Police said Friday that Corey Morgan has been charged with first-degree murder in the execution-style slaying.
Two other people have also been connected to the brutal crime, authorities said. One suspect, who was not named by police, is in custody on an unrelated charge. The other, 22-year-old Kevin Edwards, is wanted for first-degree murder, police said.
“This is a crime that shook our city,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy at a news conference Friday, saying “the assassination of a 9-year-old child” was “an act of barbarism.”
McCarthy said Tyshawn, a fourth-grader, was in a park Nov. 2 playing basketball with his friends. Some media outlets have reported that the boy was on his way to his grandmother’s house.
McCarthy said the suspect or suspects approached Tyshawn in the park, engaged him in conversation and then led him into an alley. Moments later, he was shot and killed, abandoned in a pool of his own blood. McCarthy did not specify what role Morgan played in the slaying, but police believe there was only one gunman.
An autopsy report showed that bullets hit the boy’s thumb and hand and grazed his back. The shot that killed him struck his head, according to reports.
McCarthy called it “an unfathomable crime” that was “targeted and calculated.”
Law enforcement sources told the Chicago Tribune that the incident may have stemmed from a rival between two gangs — the Gangster Disciples and the Black P Stones. Members of each gang were shot and killed last month. Police believe Tyshawn’s death was connected to his father’s involvement in the conflict.
But Tyshawn’s father, 25-year-old Pierre Stokes, disputed authorities’ characterization of him, telling the Chicago Tribune that no one would have a motive to hurt him — and that if someone did, he would not target his son.
“I’m not hard to find,” Stokes told the newspaper.
He argued that authorities have been focused on the wrong person.
“They’re more worried about me. Why are you worried about me, not the killer?” he told the newspaper. “I’m not the killer. Worry about the killer.”
Still, Stokes said, he took responsibility for not being by his son’s side.
“To be honest, I feel bad,” he told the newspaper. “I feel like it’s my fault.”
McCarthy, the police superintendent, said that soon after Tyshawn’s death, Morgan came into a Chicago police station with an attorney but did not give a statement.
Weeks later, McCarthy said, Morgan was arrested on a gun charge but was released when he posted bail.
Morgan was arrested again late Wednesday night and is now charged with first-degree murder in Tyshawn’s death.
He was scheduled to appear in bond court Friday afternoon.