Chicago Police

Left for Dead: 3 Months After Hit-and-Run That Killed 11-Year-Old, His Family Calls for Justice

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Friday marked exactly three months since 11-year-old Ja'lon James was killed in a hit-and-run crash that remains unsolved. His family is calling for justice, saying Chicago police have plenty of evidence and it shouldn't take this long to see an arrest.

"You will never forget that smile and the goofiness," Ja'lon's grandmother Nicole Harrison said. "He always laughed at something. Anything made him laugh and made him smile."

Ja'lon's family members and supporters protested outside the Chicago police station just blocks from the crash site in North Lawndale on Friday, wearing matching red shirts - his favorite color - and calling on police to solve the case.

Harrison said Ja'lon loved boxing, dancing, riding his bike and playing with his six brothers and sisters - especially his twin Ja'len.

"They do everything together. Never see one without the other," she said. "If Ja'len or Ja'lon is apart from each other, it’s always, ‘Mom, I need my brother. I want my brother. Go get my brother.'"

Those were Ja’len’s exact words for days after the hit-and-run crash that killed his twin.

"He wouldn’t go outside to play. He wouldn’t move, he wouldn’t eat. He just kept saying, 'Ma, I want my brother, I want my brother,'" Harrison said.

The morning of June 16, Ja'lon was walking to the store in the 3300 block of West 16th Street with one of his older siblings to pick up some milk. Authorities said a car headed east hit him as he crossed the street, just steps from his family's home. The car dragged him for half a block, and witnesses said the driver stopped briefly before taking off.

Harrison said investigators told her right away that they had plenty of evidence.

"He came and told us they had the car, they had fingerprints, they had warrants out, they got video," Harrison said. "They had all that stuff within that week."

But still, no arrest.

"You have all this evidence that you keep telling me over and over that you have, what’s the problem? Why has no one been arrested? No one’s in custody," she said. "It eats me up inside every day to know that we know all this, what detectives are telling me, but nothing is being done."

Adding to her pain, Harrison said she and her family believe they know the suspect's name and address - information she said she's passed along to police. For that person, she had just one question.

"You knew you hit him and you kept going and just left him laying there like a stray dog on the street. I just want to know why. Why?" she asked, pleading for the person responsible to come forward. "Don't have this family keep going through what we’re going through every day."

Harrison said police have never once called her family - it’s always the other way around.

"They have our numbers. Why's no one reached out to us? This is a kid that has been killed. On the streets. Violently, the way he was killed. And no one’s reaching out to us," she said. "We shouldn’t have to go and stand in front of the police station and protest."

She said she visits the site where Ja'lon was killed every day - and that she will never give up on her grandson.

"I'm gonna fight. I'm gonna fight 'til someone's in custody," Harrison said. "I refuse to leave this earth without some justice being served."

NBC 5 Investigates has filed multiple public records requests to find out exactly what's happening in this case. Neither Chicago police nor the Cook County State’s Attorney's Office responded to request for comment.

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