16-year-old Tilden student Kejuan Thomas shot to death while playing basketball in Jeffery Manor

Kejuan Thomas | Facebook

Kejuan Thomas | Facebook

Sixteen-year-old Kejuan Thomas was a good kid, who loved to draw and dance, but his greatest love was playing basketball. And that is what he was doing when he was shot to death Wednesday afternoon in a park in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood on the South Side.

Thomas was playing ball with a group of teens about 4:30 p.m. at Bradley Park in the 9700 block of South Yates when a car with two male suspects inside pulled up, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

One of them jumped out of the car and fired shots.

Kejaun suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:46 p.m., authorities said.

Friends said on Facebook that Kejuan lived in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood, but often went to Jeffery Manor to play in the basketball program there because he felt the neighborhood was safer.
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Heinous event’: Emmanuel Fleming, Michael Swift shot to death on steps of Austin church as service begins

Emmanuel Fleming and Michael Swift were running a little late for services on Sunday morning when the unthinkable happened. Just as the men were walking up the front steps of an Austin neighborhood church, they were gunned down in broad daylight, with Fleming’s young children watching.

CHurch members take part in a prayer vigil outside Friendship Baptist Church in Austin the day after two men were shot to death on the front steps of the church. | Facebook

Church members take part in a prayer vigil outside Friendship Baptist Church in Austin the day after two men were shot to death on the front steps of the church. | Facebook


The shots struck the 34-year-old Fleming, and 46-year-old Swift just outside the Friendship Baptist Church in the 200 block of South Laramie at 11:19 a.m., according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Inside, the congregation was singing a hymn.

Outside, two people wearing bandannas walked up and fired shots, apparently at Fleming, police said.

Both men suffered multiple gunshot wounds to their bodies, authorities said. The shooters then drove away southbound in a silver or gray SUV.

Fleming’s three children, all under the age of 10, ran into the church and were not hurt.
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Rashaad Crawford had high hopes for Back of the Yards: ‘These people don’t know what they’ve done’

By BLAIR PADDOCK
Homicide Watch Chicago

Rashaad Crowley | Facebook

Rashaad Crawford | Facebook


Rashaad H. Crawford, 23, was known as a dreamer in his Back of the Yards community. When he wasn’t working his business, he was inspiring kids on the basketball court.

He had big aspirations, not only him and his sister, but for all the kids in the community.

These kids looked up to him not only as a basketball coach, but as a mentor,” his girlfriend, Danielle Holmes, said.

But in a crime that sent shockwaves through the community, Crawford was shot in the chest and left arm on July 15 in the South Shore neighborhood. Two male suspects approached and shot him as he sat in a parked vehicle at 3:17 a.m. in the 2100 block of East 71st Street, according to Chicago Police.

He was taken to Northwestern Memorial hospital, where he died at 4:02 a.m., authorities said.

Crawford was hanging out with friends at the time of the shooting, Holmes said.
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Beloved baker Aristeo ‘Pascuale’ Soriano shot while walking home from his job at D’Amato’s Bakery in West Town

By ASHLEE REZIN and JEFF MAYES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Aristeo 'Pascuale' Soriano | GoFundMe

Aristeo ‘Pascuale’ Soriano | GoFundMe


Aristeo “Pascuale” Soriano had walked home from his job as a baker at a popular West Town bakery almost every day for the last 25 years.

On Wednesday morning, after a shift that ended at 2 a.m., the father of four never made it home.

About 2:24 a.m., the 49-year-old Soriano was walking in the 1300 block of West Huron, according to Chicago Police. He was going home from D’Amato’s Bakery, where he had worked for more than 20 years.

As he was walking, a male suspect walked up, pulled out a weapon and shot him, according to police.

Soriano was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 30 minutes later, authorities said.
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Mom remembers Christian Pichardo ‘making sunshine happen on a gloomy day,’ even six years after his death

By ANALISA TROFIMUK
Homicide Watch Chicago

Christian Pichardo and family member.

Maricela Huerta recalls her son, Christian Pichardo, serving his community from his grandparents’ garage in South Chicago as the community barber.

The 18-year-old often provided free haircuts to children in the neighborhood so he could practice while attending Success Barber School.

Pichardo impacted many children in the neighborhood through conversations held over those haircuts, according to Huerta, but a young man nicknamed “Ricky” was one of his favorite clients and closest friend.

Not many in the community treated Ricky as a normal kid due to his Down syndrome, but Pichardo spent time and joked around with him like he would with any other friend, Huerta said.

He always had compassion for others,” Huerta said.

On May 23, 2011, Pichardo was found fatally shot outside his grandparents’ home, and while it has been six years since his death, family and friends sometimes still refer to him in present tense and ‘fill in the blanks with what he would do,’ keeping his compassionate spirit alive, according to Huerta.

We always see things in a different light because of him,” Huerta said.
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Anniversary of William ‘Nook’ Palmer’s death leaves family wanting ‘proper justice,’ and not just for Nook

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By ANALISA TROFIMUK
Homicide Watch Chicago

It has been just over a year since 32-year-old William Palmer was fatally shot as he slept in his car near his home at the 6300 block of South Honore last June.

His mother, Rosemary Palmer, 60, said she remembers the day she got the call from Chicago Police saying her son had been shot in the head.

Upon receiving the call, she immediately went to the crime scene.

“I saw the yellow tape and then I saw the red tape. I remembered someone telling me that the red tape meant someone died and I dropped to my knees knowing it was my baby,” Rosemary Palmer said.

William Palmer, referred to as “Nook” by family, was a storyteller and jokester, according to a family member. His mother said his cousin gave him the nickname when William was a baby.
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15-year-old Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara tried to inspire kids to ‘feel good about being young in Chicago’

Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Marissa Estrada

Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara | Marissa Estrada

By BLAIR PADDOCK
Homicide Watch Chicago

Spending most of his time volunteering with the St. Gall Catholic Church youth group, Julio Cesar Garcia-Lara, 15, was a charismatic “natural born leader,” according to his godfather, Gary Graf.

He was happy and full of enthusiasm, making the youth [at church] around him feel good about being young in Chicago,” Graf said.

Garcia-Lara’s life ended on June 12, shot to death while riding in the back of an SUV in the West Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side, according to Chicago Police.

Around 10:30 p.m., a white Dodge Charger started following the car Garcia-Lara was in on the 5900 block of South Pulaski, and someone started shooting. He was struck in the back and in the head, and died less than an hour later at Mount Sinai hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

This just seems so out of line with the life he was living,” Graf said.
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WEEK IN REVIEW: 17 die from violence, 7 on Sunday, 2 on front steps of church as services begin

By JEFF MAYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

Another 17 people died from violence in Chicago the week of August 7-13, including seven killed on a bloody Sunday that included a triple homicide and a double homicide, one of which is being investigated as a case of self-defense and the other occurring on the front steps of a church as services were getting under way.

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin

Sun-Times file photo by Ashlee Rezin


Celeste “CeCe” Cockriel and her cousins, Narcisco “Kiko” Ledesma and Antonio “AJ” Lopez, were fatally shot at a home in the East Side neighborhood on the Far South Side Sunday. The homeowner who shot them claims they were breaking in and the shootings were in self-defense. Detectives initially questioned that man to confirm the story, but released him without charges on Wednesday, according to Chicago Police.

A police source said the 31-year-old, who has a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card, claimed he shot the three after they broke into his home. Area South detectives continue to investigate the shootings, which were ruled homicides.

Ledesma, 22, of North Austin; Lopez, 17, of East Chicago, Ind.; and Cockriel, 24, of Humboldt Park, all suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the body at 5:30 p.m. in the 10200 block of South Ewing, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

About six hours earlier, two men were killed in a shooting outside a church in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side. Emmanuel Fleming, 34, and Michael Swift, 46, were walking up the front steps of Friendship Baptist Church when they were gunned down in broad daylight, with Fleming’s young children watching.
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CeCe’ Cockriel, ‘Kiko’ Ledesma and ‘AJ’ Lopez shot to death in East Side home; shooter claims self-defense

By JACOB WITTICH
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Celeste “CeCe” Cockriel and her cousins, Narcisco “Kiko” Ledesma and Antonio “AJ” Lopez, were fatally shot at a home in the East Side neighborhood on the Far South Side Sunday. The homeowner who shot them claims they were breaking in and the shootings were in self-defense.

Detectives initially questioned that man to confirm the story, but released him without charges on Wednesday.

A police source said the 31-year-old, who has a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification card, claimed he shot the three after they broke into his home.

“We have noticed inconsistencies in his story … we’re pressing pretty hard,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said of investigators who were interrogating the man.
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24-year-old Levell Moore shot to death in Jackson Park Highlands

Levell M. Moore was shot to death early Friday in the Jackson Park Highlands neighborhood on the South Side, authorities said.

Two people approached the 24-year-old Moore and one of them shot him while he was standing on a sidewalk in the 6800 block of South Jeffery about 12:45 a.m., Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

Moore, who lived in the Northwest Side Albany Park neighborhood, was struck twice in the chest, authorities said.

He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died at 2:49 a.m., the medical examiner’s said.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Bond denied for man charged with 2016 murder of Jeremy Ray following argument over dice game

By LUKE WILUSZ
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Shaqir Mustapha | Chicago Police

Shaqir Mustapha | Chicago Police


Bond was denied for a man charged with shooting Jeremy H. Ray to death more than a year ago, several hours after they fought over a dice game in the South Chicago neighborhood.

Shaqir Mustapha, 20, has been charged with first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of the 27-year-old Ray about 9:30 p.m. on June 10, 2016, according to Cook County court records and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

While the medical examiner’s office identified the victim as “Jeremy H. Ray,” prosecutors referred to him as “Jeremy Rey” in court documents.

Ray, Mustapha and several other people were shooting dice about 5 p.m. that day on the sidewalk outside the Germano Millgate public housing complex in the 8900 block of South Brandon, court records state. Ray and Mustapha got into an argument during the dice game and Ray pulled out a gun and pistol-whipped Mustapha.
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Lil Rob’ Thornton dies the morning after being wounded in a drive-by shooting in Austin

Robert “Lil Rob” Thornton died Wednesday morning after being critically wounded in an Austin neighborhood drive-by shooting the night before.

Thornton, 32, was standing outside about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday on a sidewalk in the 5400 block of West Rice, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A white vehicle went past and someone inside fired shots.

Thornton was struck in his chest and right leg, police said. He was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he was pronounced dead at 7:06 a.m. Wednesday.

He lived in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with memorial expenses.

Thornton’s aunt, who started the page, wrote: “The unexpected loss of a loved one is so hard to put into words. The pain is so unimaginable, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel this pain.

I would like everyone to remember Lil Robert by his funny jokes, his charming ways, and his genuine smile.”

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Prosecutors: 86-year-old Donald ‘Donnie Mac’ McNamara was shot to death by his son as the two argued

Bond has been denied for a south suburban man charged with fatally shooting his elderly father, Donald L. McNamara, last week in the older man’s Canaryville neighborhood home on the South Side.

Donald J. McNamara | Chicago Police

Donald J. McNamara | Chicago Police


Donald J. McNamara, 58, faces one count of first-degree murder for the death of his 86-year-old father, according to authorities.

Cook County prosecutors allege it was the culmination of a longstanding family feud.

Donald L. McNamara’s daughter found him bleeding from his head just after 4 p.m. Aug. 10 in the 4100 block of South Wallace, where he had lived for over 2 years, according to authorities and friends. When paramedics arrived, they found a puncture wound to the back of his head, Chicago Police said.

McNamara was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:31 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy found he died of a gunshot wound to the head and ruled his death a homicide.
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Man found shot to death in Little Village alley identified as 19-year-old Victor Davila Jr.

A man found shot to death Wednesday morning in the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side has been identified as 19-year-old Victor Davila Jr.

Officers responded to a call of shots fired at 8:32 a.m. in the 2400 block of South Sacramento, Chicago Police said.

They found Davila in an alley with a gunshot wound to the chest, police and the Cook County Medical examiner’s office initially said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the back, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The True Value Boys & Girls Club is located on the same block, according to a local resident. “Kids walk to that club. For summer camp and soon for afterschool programs. Innocent lives put at risk for senseless acts.”

Davila lived in Little Village, less than a mile from where he was shot.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Suspect on bicycle fatally shoots Stefan Slater a few blocks from his home in Ashburn

Stefan Slater was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon by a suspect riding a bicycle in the Southwest Side Ashburn neighborhood.

The 23-year-old Slater was standing outside in the 7800 block of South Homan, just a few blocks from his home, at 2:25 p.m., according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

A male then rode past on a light-colored bicycle and started shooting, police said. Slater was hit five times and the shooter rode away.

He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead at 3:03 p.m., authorities said. He lived in the same neighborhood.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

25-year-old Rakeem Simmons shot to death while walking to the store in South Shore

Rakeem Dushon Simmons died at a hospital after being shot Monday morning in the South Shore neighborhood.

A family member said Simmons had walked to the store for coffee and a newspaper, as he did every morning, when he was attacked.

The 25-year-old was found by officers responding about 10 a.m. to a call of a person shot in the 6800 block of South Harper, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Simmons, who lived in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on the South Side, had been shot in the lower back, police said.

He was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died at 10:57 a.m., authorities said.

Area Central detectives are investigating, and no one is in custody.

A fundraiser to help the family with memorial expenses has been set up on Facebook.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire