SUSPECT ARRESTED IN FATAL SHOOTING OF 9-YEAR-OLD
Police confident charges will be approved soon, credit community with help in investigation
A suspect is in custody in the fatal shooting Friday of a 9-year-old boy who was playing on the Near North Side, police said Monday.
Janari Ricks was shot and killed Friday while playing in a vacant lot near the site of the former Cabrini-Green housing project.
CPD Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters Monday he’s confident charges against the suspect will be approved soon. He credited neighbors with helping officers locate the suspect quickly.
“We’re not in this position without the help of the community who came forward and gave us information which allowed us to identify and arrest the suspect,” Deenihan said.
Authorities said Janari was playing with friends in the rowhouses of the Cabrini-Green public housing complex in the 900 block of North Cambridge Avenue around 6 p.m. Friday when a gunman opened fire, fatally striking the boy in the chest. Chicago police said the boy was an unintended target.
The boy was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead an hour later.
Speaking to reporters Monday, local Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said the suspected shooter and his intended target are both from the area originally, but neither lives there anymore. Burnett wouldn’t say what the men were doing in the neighborhood the night of the shooting, but he urged nonresidents to stay out of the rowhouses.
“People, you don’t live there anymore. Stop coming over to the neighborhood and doing your dirt,” Burnett said. “Do dirt where you live, or don’t do dirt at all. But stop coming to the rowhouses and doing things. The people in the rowhouses are just trying to survive, just trying to live, just trying to raise their families.
“The violence did not come from people who live in the rowhouses,” he added. “The violence came from people who come over to the rowhouses and do their dirt. We need to keep these people out of our neighborhood.”
CPD Supt. David Brown said Monday he would not be surprised if the suspect had a lengthy criminal background. But despite having access to the suspect’s arrest report, Brown declined to discuss the suspect’s criminal history until charges were approved.
Brown also said that the arrest in the case could serve as an example to other parts of the city where police and community relations are frayed.
“I would encourage those communities that don’t have a sense of trust [in the CPD] to look at this community as an example of how they can be made safer by bringing violent criminal offenders to justice, off the streets of Chicago, which makes their neighborhoods safer,” Brown said.
Wallace “Gator” Bradley and Andrew Holmes were among the community activists who met with residents in Cabrini-Green over the weekend to encourage them to give up the shooter. Someone even posted a photo of the suspect on social media in an effort to have him arrested.
Bradley, head of United in Peace and a former gang enforcer, said he’s been stressing that anyone who shoots a senior citizen, woman or child should be ostracized — something he calls “The Code.”
“We are not vigilantes, but these guys need to be brought to justice for what they’re doing,” he said, referring to the two dozen young children shot, five fatally, this year in Chicago.
By Saturday, a memorial had sprouted up along the same block where Janari had lived. Neighbors and friends brought two basketballs, a football and stuffed animals. Some lit candles; others tied balloons on a metal fence. Janari’s beloved hoverboard — a present on his last birthday — was placed on the ground in front of the memorial.
On Monday, Pastor Donovan Price added a white, wooden cross. It had been made by Greg Zanis before he died earlier this year. Over more than 20 years, Zanis had made and delivered thousands of crosses for homicide victims in Chicago and elsewhere.
Janari’s mother, Jalisa Ford, said her son was a straight-A, “honorroll” student entering fourth grade at Ruben Salazar Elementary School.
The family of a man who was stabbed to death outside a West Town bar in February is suing the man’s alleged attacker as well as the bar.
Kenneth Paterimos, 23, was targeted because he was gay, the family’s attorney, John Corbett, said Monday talking to reporters during a teleconference announcing the lawsuit.
“It is the hope of Kenneth Paterimos’ family that going public with this tragedy — a tragedy that they will have to live with always — will shed some light on perhaps bringing some changes that will put a stop to this senseless violence directed toward LGBTQ people,” Corbett said.
Among other things, the wrongful death suit, filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleges Richard’s Bar “failed to provide the necessary personnel to protect against the misconduct of patrons.” A representative from the bar, at 491 N. Milwaukee Ave., couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
Thomas Tansey, a Marine Corps veteran, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the fatal Feb. 21 stabbing. No trial date has been set.
Witnesses told police that Tansey had been drinking alone at the bar for several hours when he began arguing with Paterimos, a barista who had been at the bar with friends. The two men scuffled inside the business and had to be separated after coming to blows. Tansey was later thrown out of the bar. Tansey allegedly slashed Paterimos with a box cutter outside the bar, prosecutors say. Tansey’s attorney has argued that his client was defending himself.
Paterimos’ friends and family members have said that Tansey made homophobic remarks about Paterimos, but prosecutors did not mention any such slurs during early court hearings.
On Monday, Paterimos’ mother, Diona Bueno, spoke about the pain of losing her son.
“Every day is hard,” said Bueno, who lives in the Austin neighborhood. “Every day I get to go into his room, and instead of waking him up, I get to take a smell and hope that I can still smell him.”
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown answers a question Monday during a press conference to announce the arrest of a suspect in the fatal shooting of 9-year-old Janari Ricks on Friday.
A cross was added to Janari Ricks’ memorial Monday by Pastor Donovan Price. It had been made by the late Greg Zanis, who made and delivered thousands of crosses for homicide victims across the country.
Family members of Kenneth Paterimos stand in front of Richard’s Bar, demanding justice, in March. Paterimos was stabbed outside the bar Feb. 21.