Four people were charged in connection with the murder of 9-year-old Antonio Smith, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Friday.
Derrick Allmon, 19; Jabari Williams, 22; and Michael Baker, 19, and an Paris Denard, 19, all face charges of first-degree murder. Williams also faces a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Antonio was found shot multiple times Aug. 20 in a backyard in the city's South Side Grand Crossing neighborhood.
At a Friday news conference announcing the charges, McCarthy said the men -- who are all documented gang members -- were driving around in two separate cars looking to confront members of a rival gang.
McCarthy says the men located the gang members they were looking for in the 1200 block of East 71st Street, and Williams handed Allman a gun and told him to shoot.
"As Allman approached his intended targets on foot, he came across Antonio Smith in a rear yard of a residence. Believing that Antonio Smith was yelling a warning to his intended victims, Allman shot Antonio Smith multiple times, wounding him fatally," McCarthy said.
McCarthy says Allman fled the scene and discarded the .380 calibre handgun in a nearby sewer, which was recovered by investigators Thursday. Police say the same handgun has been traced to two other shootings this year, including a murder.
Antonio's mother, Brandi Murry, said the boy had walked out of the family's house by himself that day while his older brother and sister were watching him after he threw a "temper tantrum" because he got into trouble.
Murry said she rushed home from work and called police to report him missing, and that's when officers arrived and told her what happened to her son.
"I don't even understand it, why anyone would do this," Murry said. "I'm praying for the whole city right now ... not even just for my son and my family, I'm praying for everybody. And I don't even want any other parent to even go through this."
Antonio would have entered the fourth grade this fall.
“He was just a kid,” said family friend Bridgett Jackson. “You should not have to bury a kid.”
"He will never graduate eighth grade, go to high school or get married," neighbor Rebecca Sankey said.