‘Find Whoever Did This to My Baby': Mother of Slain 9-Year-Old Boy Speaks Out for First Time

The mother of a 9-year-old boy who was fatally shot in Chicago this week gave an emotional plea Tuesday 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."

The 9-year-old boy was fatally shot in an alley in Chicago while still in his school uniform late Monday afternoon, and sources say the young boy may have been targeted.

Fourth-grader Tyshawn Lee was in a Gresham neighborhood alleyway near his grandmother’s home around 4:15 p.m. when he was shot multiple times in the head and back, police said.

"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. 

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."

Chief of Detectives Constantine "Dean" Andrews said at a Monday night press conference they don’t know if Lee was hit by stray bullets or if he was targeted, but they do know a group of people had previously been in the alley where his body was found when an argument broke out and someone started shooting. After the murder the group fled the scene. 

Sources said 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.

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

Pfleger revealed Tuesday afternoon that a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case had climbed to $20,000.

Lee 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."

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

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