Mother of ‘loving dad’ Trasean Stokes: ‘so not worth joining a gang because your own gang will kill you’

Trasean Stokes with his son/Family photo

Trasean Stokes with his son/Family photo

Homicide Watch Chicago

Trasean Stokes was a loving father to his two children, his mother Kelly Collier said, often taking them to Chuck E. Cheese, the park and the movies, and sometimes even to a pond to catch fish and turtles.

That’s why her son’s death is “really bothering” his daughter, who talks about it all the time. 

Every day, all day, she’s asking me questions,” Collier said.

Stokes was incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center in November 2015 for violating probation. On the day he was released from prison, he was killed.

Stokes, 26, was shot to death Oct. 14, 2016, in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on the North Side.

He was outside at 8:55 p.m. in the 6000 block of North Talman when a group of people walked up and fired shots, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Delames Sullivan | Cook County Sheriff's Dept.

Delames Sullivan | Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.

Stokes was shot in the chest, and was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he was pronounced dead 30 minutes later, authorities said. He lived in the 6000 block of North Fairfield. An autopsy found he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Delames Sullivan, 19, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting, according to police.

Sullivan was arrested in the Cook County Jail, where he had been held on since October 24 on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and violating probation for an unrelated robbery case, according to the Cook County sheriff’s office. He is now being held without bond.

Collier said Stokes joined the Latin Kings gang in 2008, when he was 20, “against all my efforts chasing him.”

She found out by looking at his MySpace page. When she asked him why he joined, she said, he reassured her it had nothing to do with the way she raised him—he just liked hanging out with the gang members.

From left: Trasean Stokes, his mother Kelly Collier, his children and his younger brother/Family photo

From left: Trasean Stokes, his mother Kelly Collier, his children and his younger brother/Family photo

During his incarceration, Collier said, her son got into an argument over the phone with another Latin King, and “disrespected” a member who had died.

When he got out of jail, Stokes went to get food with friends, and Sullivan called one of the people with Stokes to ask if he could join them. Stokes agreed, and Sullivan met them. The group were walking to a liquor store when the Sullivan shot Stokes, Collier said.

About a half an hour before he left to meet his friends, Collier said her son turned to her and said, “Mom, I’m tired of being a piece of s—. I just want to take care of my kids.”

At the time, Collier had a strong suspicion the shooter was a member of the Latin Kings. 

Everyone was saying I was crazy,” Collier said.

But she “knew the whole situation beforehand” because she had talked to her son every day and had heard three-way calls between Stokes and other Latin Kings members.

Collier said she believes the murder had been planned for a while, and that Sullivan was not working alone because, in the Latin Kings, someone has to order you to do something like this before you can do it. 

Someone has to give them a gun,” Collier said, adding that Sullivan was the person the gang would order to do various things. She said she believes he has killed others in the past.

Stokes with his children and their mother/Family photo

Stokes with his children and their mother/Family photo

Collier said she saw Sullivan post, “I did this for KC” on Facebook after the shooting because “KC” was the deceased gang member who Stokes had “disrespected.”

She said she wanted to cancel the funeral because she knew Sullivan and others would be there, but the detectives she worked with told her not to because there was a chance someone there would reveal more information about what had happened. The detectives assured her there would be a strong police presence at the funeral.

At Stokes’ funeral, Sullivan was “sitting there laughing the whole time,” Collier said.

Later, the detectives confirmed that Sullivan was the suspected killer, she said.

Collier has lived in West Rogers Park for 20 years and knows the people her son spent time with, including Sullivan, she said. She said she is glad Sullivan was arrested and charged, but “deep in my heart I know there’s others involved.”

Stokes was outgoing, caring, did well in school and was a “good kid,” his mother said. He graduated from Mather High School on the North Side.

His younger brother, Collier said, is having a hard time with his death, asking her to take down photos of Trasean. 

In addition to leaving behind two children, Stokes also has a niece and nephew he never got to meet.

“It is so not worth joining a gang because your own gang will kill you.”

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