Recent shootings illustrate how quickly innocent children can become victims in some of the city’s most gang-infested neighborhoods.
By Jeremy Gorner, Elvia Malagon, William Lee and Jason Meisner
Atwan C. Jones was walking down the street Saturday evening when he spotted three gang rivals selling pot in Black Disciples territory and opened fire from across King Drive, according to police and prosecutors.
As happens too often in Chicago, Jones missed his target and instead wounded 11-year-old Takiya Holmes in the right temple as she sat in a van with her 3-year-old brother, her mother and her aunt in the Parkway Gardens complex, authorities said.
police Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said. “Obviously, we know now that he didn’t hit any of them.
“And this poor young girl, this 11-year-old, Takiya, she pulls up in a van. The van couldn’t have been there more than a minute and this stray bullet strikes her, causing her death,” Deenihan said.
Takiya was rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital a mile and a half to the north, where she was taken off life support Tuesday morning. She was one of three children shot in Chicago in three days.
In bond court Wednesday afternoon, Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil ordered that Johnson, wearing a maroon jacket with a faux fur hood, be held without bond on a first-degree murder charge.
Jones was charged early Wednesday after police examined video that showed several people near the shooting. Gang investigators helped detectives identify witnesses who cooperated with authorities and identified Jones as the gunman, Deenihan said.
The commander said he believed the witnesses cooperated because an innocent had been killed.
Authorities said Jones surrendered to police but did not make a statement, instead requesting an attorney. Jones has a “lengthy” juvenile record, which police did not detail, and three arrests as an adult.
He was charged last November with two counts of domestic battery and one count of criminal damage to property. An order of protection was issued in the case. Last September, Jones was charged with aggravated assault of a teacher, and in 2015 he was charged with reckless conduct.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the shooting underscores once again the need for action in Springfield on legislation that will toughen penalties for gun offenders.
“I raised three kids in this city,” Johnson said at a news conference at police headquarters. “And for any leader in this city to watch young kids have to suffer because we don’t hold people accountable is ridiculous.
“How many children do we have to lose before the promises that were made by certain legislators are kept?” he asked. “How many?”
About 30 minutes before Takiya was shot, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry Bowers also was struck in the head by a stray bullet about 4 miles away, outside her elementary school near 57th Street and Winchester Avenue in the West Englewood neighborhood.
Police said she remains in critical condition and on life support at Stroger Hospital.
Tuesday afternoon, 2-year-old Lavontay White Jr. was gunned down while riding in the back seat of a car on the West Side — an attack captured on Facebook Live.
The boy’s 26-year-old uncle was killed and the uncle’s pregnant girlfriend was wounded.