CHICAGO (CBS) — A suspect is in custody and charges are pending Monday morning in the shooting death of 9-year-old Janari Ricks, who was killed on Friday while playing in the Cabrini Green neighborhood.
Police have said, around 6:45 p.m. Friday, a gunman opened fire on a group of people behind the townhomes on the 900 block of North Cambridge Avenue – the last occupied section of the Cabrini-Green public housing development – when a bullet struck Janari in the chest.
Janari was taken to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Monday morning, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said a suspect was in custody, and police expected to file charges within the next couple days.
“We’re not in this position without the help of the community who came forward and gave us information which allowed us to actually identify and arrest the suspect,” Deenihan said.
Detectives also are reviewing surveillance video footage as part of their investigation into Janari’s death.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown called Janari “a bright beloved athletic soon-to-be fourth grader, who loved math and basketball.”
“Now, instead of planning for his future, Janari’s parents are arranging their child’s funeral,” he added. “Bringing this little boy’s killer to justice is the top priority of the Chicago Police Department.”
A reward of at least $4,000 was being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Janari’s murder.
Janari is the fifth child under age 10 to be shot and killed in Chicago this year.
On Saturday, Janari’s mother, Jalisa Ford, described her final conversation with her child to reporters, including CBS 2’s Marissa Parra.
“He says, ‘Mom, can I come outside and play?’ and I said, ‘Sure,’” Ford said Saturday. “And when he went out, he never came back home.”
In addition to Janari, the other four children shot and killed in Chicago this summer include:
- On July 4th, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace was shot in the head while playing in her grandmother’s front yard in the South Austin neighborhood. Police and prosecutors say a group of gunmen opened fire on the 100 block of North Latrobe Avenue, in apparent retaliation for an earlier shooting that killed a brother of one of the shooters. The accused getaway driver is being held without bail on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery. Police are looking for the three shooters.
- On June 28th, 10-year-old Lena Nunez was killed when a stray bullet pierced the window of an apartment in Logan Square, as a group of men apparently was shooting at someone else on the street outside.
- On June 27th, 1-year-old Sincere Gaston was shot and killed while riding home from the laundromat with his mother in Englewood. His mother was also grazed by a bullet. Police have said the shooter may have been targeting Sincere’s father, who was not in the car.
- On June 20th, 3-year-old Mekhi James was shot in the back while riding in his stepfather’s SUV on the 600 block of North Central Avenue. He was taken to the hospital in serious condition, but later was pronounced dead. Police have said the shooter was targeting the 27-year-old stepfather.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been 24 children age 10 or younger shot so far this year in Chicago, three times as many as the same time period last year.