Father of Slain 9-Year-Old Boy Believes Son Was Targeted

Stokes said he last saw his son, Tyshawn Lee, the morning before he was killed

The father of a 9-year-old boy who was fatally shot in Chicago this week says he believes his son was targeted in the shooting. 

Pierre Stokes says his son's killing was not an accident, noting that no one shoots a child that many times, but he doesn't know anyone that would do this to the young boy. 

"No little boy gets shot seven times on accident," he said. "That's not an accident, that's an execution."

Stokes said he last saw his son, Tyshawn Lee, the morning before he was killed. He said he knows the area the family lives is known for violence and walked his son to school every morning. He even said he refused to let his son trick-or-treat, instead bringing the boy candy. 

"I couldn't think straight. I couldn't see straight," he said. "It hurt."

Stokes' claims come just one day after sources said the boy may have been targeted in the shooting, but he says police are pointing the finger at him.

"Instead of helping me try to find who killed my son, they're blaming me for it, saying it's my fault," he said.

The fourth grader was fatally shot in an alleyway near his grandmother’s home  in Chicago's Gresham neighborhood around 4:15 p.m. while still in his school uniform. Authorities said the boy was shot multiple times in the head and back.

Sources said Tuesday authorities are working on two theories surrounding the boy’s killing.

One theory is that the young boy was walking through the alley when he became caught in the middle of an argument. A second theory is the boy was the intended target in the shooting.

Chief of Detectives Constantine "Dean" Andrews said at a Monday night press conference a group of people were in the alley where Tyshawn's body was found when an argument broke out and someone started shooting. After the murder the group fled the scene. 

“Somebody executed a baby,” Father Michael Pfleger from Saint Sabina Church said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

A reward for information leading to an arrest in the case has climbed to $35,000.

Shortly after, Tyshawn's mother gave an emotional plea asking for someone to come forward and help find her son's killer.

"Please come forward and find whoever did this to my baby," Karla Lee said as tears rolled down her face. "Oh my god I love my son. I'm going to miss him."

"He was supposed to play ball. That's all he do, all he liked to do is play ball and play video games," Karla Lee said. "He didn't hurt nobody. I don't know why this happened."

Dawn Valenti, a crisis responder who assists families in the aftermath of a homicide, called the shooting "another hard blow for our city."

"We just ask that the city stand up, get rid of the code of silence," she said. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also addressed the fatal shooting, saying the latest tragedy in Chicago violence is proof that there's evil in the world.

"Whoever did this, I want to say something," Emanuel said. "I believe fundamentally in the goodness of human nature, but there is evil in the world. Whoever did this, there is a special place for them. I hope they never see freedom. I hope they never see daylight."

The shooting came less than two hours before a young model was shot blocks away, just weeks after she was crowned the winner of a renowned modeling contest. 

Last week, President Barack Obama addressed the gun violence afflicting his hometown and urged cooperation between police officers and communities.

"I live on the South Side of Chicago, so my house is pretty close to some places where shootings take place," Obama said. "Because that's real, we have to get on top of it before it becomes an accelerating trend."

In September, the city saw one of its most violent months in years, with two consecutive weekends of more than 50 people shot. In a single day, on Sept. 2, nine people were killed and at least 12 others were wounded in shootings across the city, making it the deadliest day in the city in over a decade.

"Please put the guns down, please," Karla Lee pleaded. "They're taking too many young lives, please. I'm only 26, this is my only baby, my only baby and now he's gone."

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.

"Whoever it is just please turn yourself in because you have hurt a family," Stephanie Lee, the boy's cousin, said. "You have hurt a family deeply. You have destroyed a family."

Stokes said a vigil is schedueld for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at 81st and Marshfield. 

Anyone who may have information about the incident is being asked to call (312) 747-8271.

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