CHICAGO — Police announced Friday that they had arrested a man in connection with the death of Tyshawn Lee, a 9-year-old whose alleged gang-related slaying spurred outrage in Chicago.
Chicago police detectives made “an arrest in the unspeakable murder,” department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted early Friday. Guglielmi later identified the man arrested as Corey Morgan. It wasn’t immediately clear what connection authorities believe Morgan has to the case.
The boy was shot in the face and back on November 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 child’s funeral.
He 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,” McCarthy said, claiming that the boy was targeted because of his “family relationship with a member of a gang.” “He was not a bystander.”
Chicago was 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’s shooting was considered 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 asked. “This is just — I’m speechless to what is going on right now.”