A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the brutal killing of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, who was lured from a Chicago park to a nearby alley where he was "assassinated," authorities said Friday.
Corey Morgan, who was earlier considered a "person of interest" in the case, was arrested and charged with murder, according to Chicago Police News Affairs. Police believe he was one of three people involved in the young boy's execution-style shooting in Chicago earlier this month.
In bond court on Friday, a visibly angry Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Morgan held without bail for a crime she called "exceptionally brutal and heinous." Judge Chiampas called Morgan a danger to the public and said the night Tyshawn was killed, he was a predator grabbing prey.
Authorities have said Tyshawn was lured from a park into an alley near his grandmother’s house in the 8000 block of South Damen. The grade-schooler was shot multiple times at close range with a .40-caliber weapon in what authorities have said was a gang-related incident.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy called the shooting "a crime that shook our city" and said the "targeted and calculated" killing was gang retaliation to get back at Tyshawn's father.
Morgan, 27, was arrested last week on an unrelated weapons charge, but had been free on bail after meeting the $1 million bond requirements with the help of his girlfriend. Police say he was in violation of his bond when he was taken into custody this week.
Morgan's attorney, Jeff Kent, said Morgan has denied having any involvement in the young boy's murder.
"[Morgan] maintained his innocence when police questioned him a couple of weeks ago and maintains his innocence now," Kent said in a statement released on Morgan's behalf last week. "His family is supporting him through this ordeal. He says he had nothing to do with Tyshawn Lee's execution. The entire city wants the person who did this caught but it's not Corey."
The murder weapon has not yet been recovered and police say they're searching for another suspect identified as Kevin Edwards, allegedly a member of the same gang as Morgan, who they believe was also involved in the murder. Edwards is wanted on a first-degree murder charge, police said.
A third suspect is already in custody on an unrelated charge, and McCarthy said he is "not getting out anytime soon."
Investigators said at least three people were involved in the killing, but it's not clear yet who did what.
Police noted that members of the community have been vital to the investigation.
"This was very clearly not a case of no snitching, but there was a lot of fear," McCarthy said.
McCarthy also vowed to "obliterate" the gangs involved in the shooting.
Tyshawn was a student at Scott Joplin School, where his teachers say he was a "delight" to have in class. He liked to play sports and video games.
"He was supposed to play ball. That's all he do, all he liked to do is play ball and play video games," Tyshawn's mother, Karla Lee, said. "He didn't hurt nobody. I don't know why this happened."