CHICAGO — Police said Friday they had made an arrest in the death of Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old whose slaying in an alleged gang-related shooting spurred outrage in Chicago.
Chicago police spokesman Ron Gaines told CNN about an arrest in connection with the case. It wasn’t immediately clear if the person arrested is the one who authorities believe opened fire on young Tyshawn or was involved in some other way.
The boy was shot in the face and back on Nov. 2 as he headed to a park down the street from his grandmother’s house to play basketball, the Rev. Michael Pfleger said at the boy’s funeral.
The boy was “lured” into an alley in what Chicago police Superintendent Gerry McCarthy called “probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing.”
“We’re pretty sure that this is not an accident,” said McCarthy, claiming the boy was targeted because of his “family relationship with a member of a gang.” “He was not a bystander.”
Chicago began being called the murder capital of the United States after it registered 503 homicides in 2012, more than any other city. Those numbers have ticked down, though the FBI’s 2014 statistics showing 411 killings still outpaced other cities (such as New York with 333 and Los Angeles with 260) with higher populations.
The Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, where gangs battle over turf and the right to sell drugs and where Tyshawn was gunned down, is among the most dangerous.
Even for a city accustomed to gun violence, Tyshawn Lee’s shooting was beyond the pale.
Pfleger, a Catholic priest and local faith leader, called it “a new low.”
“A baby was executed,” said Pfleger, an outspoken advocate against gun violence. “A baby was assassinated right behind us in the alley.”
One longtime resident, Deronce Curd, had trouble coming to grips with the idea of gangs going after children.
“How can a little boy, 9 years old, defend himself?” Curd said. “… This is just — I’m speechless to what is going on right now.”