Murder charges were filed Wednesday against a Chicago college student accused of being part of group of men who were targeting rival gang members but ended up killing a grandmother.
Cook County prosecutors say Kimberly Underwood was returning to her home in a public housing complex on Nov. 6, when Devante York, 27, and at least five others opened fire on her automobile as she was parking. A sixth gunman who was armed with an AK-47-style rifle couldn’t get his weapon to fire.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said security camera footage helped authorities identify and charge York with the fatal shooting. The actions of the others were also captured by surveillance cameras and they face murder charges. It wasn't immediately known if they are in custody.
“While moving east, they took up positions, aimed their weapons at various locations and signaled to each other with hand gestures. However, they did not encounter anyone,” Murphy said, adding that when Underwood pulled into the parking lot, one person fired at her vehicle, prompting York and the others to shoot.
Authorities said Underwood, 53, moved into the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex two years earlier after she lost her restaurant manager job and was unable to keep her suburban Chicago home.
York was later recognized in the video footage by a gang crimes unit police officer, as well as a witness who had known him since he was a boy, Murphy said. He was additionally identified by cellphone records, the clothing he was wearing and the vehicle he was seen driving on the video.
York was wearing the same clothes and driving the same vehicle when he was arrested Dec. 28 on a weapons charge that is still pending in court, Murphy said.
An assistant public defender said York is a college student who most recently attended Governors State University and was 16 credits shy of obtaining a bachelor’s degree.