Tue. May 28th, 2024

A 12-year-old Illinois boy was shot and killed in Chicago on Sunday evening, according to reports.

The Chicago Police Department said the shooting happened near Lowe and Marquette around 6:30 p.m. not far from where the boy lived and went to school.

Ald. William Hall (6th) said a ShotSpotter alert of gunfire was the first “indicator that something went wrong.”

“We found and we discovered what we didn’t want to see,” Hall said.

Police confirmed offers responding to a gunshot detection alert found the boy near Lowe and Marquette with a gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators were seen searching Ryan Harris Memorial Park for evidence following the shooting. The victim has been identified as Damien Green by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Many of his teachers and classmates at Benjamin E. Mays Elementary Academy were still in shock on Monday.

“It breaks my heart tremendously,” said Michael Tidmore, the Safe Passage program manager for Teamwork Englewood. “It hits really hard. It’s devastating. I had to pull over on my way home after I left.”

Tidmore was on the committee that collected signatures to rename the park at the corner of Lowe and Marquette after Ryan Harris, an 11-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in 1998. The park was supposed to be a safe place for children to play, but is now at the center of the investigation into Damien’s murder.

“We want to never forget that tragic situation, but we don’t want no tragic situation like what happened last night to continue,” he said.

Joyce Ann Edwards, with nonviolence outreach group READI Chicago, was out at the scene on Monday, gathering information and handing out resources to community members.

“Unfortunately, he don’t get to see the rest of his life. His brothers and sisters don’t get to see him grow up. His mother don’t get to see his future. Like, it really hurts,” she said. “It’s really sad, and it’s really getting sickening at this point.”

Community members said people should be outraged and pushing for change.

“We need to be that village to make sure every child – not just my child, your child, his child, but every child – is safe to be able to go to this playground and play in peace; play and be safe,” Tidmore said.

Hall said the community is “tired and outraged at the same time.”

“Once again, we see that children’s lives do not matter. It’s a difficult reality, but it’s something that we are hoping to change in the near and now future,” Hall said.

“That child will not have a 13-year-old birthday, and what I do know is that Thanksgiving and Christmas will not be the same for this family,” Hall added. “That’s the pain that we’ve seen in Chicago, and it has to begin to stop.”

Police held a news conference on Sunday outside Comer Children’s Hospital, where they issued a desperate plea for help from the community in tracking down the shooter.

“We wanted to be able to get the support of the community to call the hot tip line to give us any tips that they may know,” said Deputy Chief Gilbert Calderon. “The detectives are working hard in trying to determine and follow up on any leads, but it’s up to the community to come with us to solve this type of tragedy that happened today.”

Authorities said there is very little information as to what led to the shooting. A reward for information has since climbed to $15,000.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chicago Police Department. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

“A reward is not enough to take away the sorrow and pain of this family, but $15,000 is not enough,” Hall said. “Someone knows where that shooter is. Someone is harboring that shooter. Someone is allowing that shooter to sleep in their house. Someone is allowing that shooter to go to and from.”

Hall said the “no snitch” culture that allows criminals to get away with violence in many Chicago communities needs to end.

“We need to turn these criminals in,” he said. “In no way in the world should we allow children’s blood to be the norm in our streets. And we’ve created a code of silence because simply this: when you don’t know who to go to, and when you don’t know where the help will come from, and you’re afraid of retaliation, you’d rather keep the pain to yourself.”

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com