Ronald Jerome Clarke no gang-banger, according to family, who want his ‘friends’ to speak up about fatal shooting

His mother, Demetria Hudson (left), and his aunt, Shantesia Hudson, say Ronald Clarke was not a member of a gang, though some of his longtime friends were. | photo provided

His mother, Demetria Hudson (left), and his aunt, Shantesia Hudson, say Ronald Clarke was not a member of a gang, though some of his longtime friends were. | photo provided

By TIFFANY MITCHELL
Homicide Watch Chicago

When Ronald Jerome Clarke was fatally shot last month in the Back of the Yards, police said he was affiliated with a gang. Definitely not the case, according to his family.

“He was never a part of a gang because his parents and grandparents would not allow it,” his mother, Demetria Hudson, said. “He never sold drugs or indulged in any type of violence.”

According to his mother, “Ronald may have affiliated with gang members because they were his childhood friends, but he was not a gang member. These were Ronald’s childhood friends who killed him.

“Ronald was not a criminal; he was a hard worker who accomplished many things in life; he was just an all-around amazing man to know.”
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Lazane Clark dies a week after being shot in chest during argument with acquaintance in Lake View

Lazane Clark died Wednesday evening, nearly a week after he was shot in the chest by an acquaintance during an argument in the Lake View neighborhood on the North Side.

At 10:55 a.m. Jan. 4, the 55-year-old Clark got into an argument with a 67-year-old man he knew in the 800 block of West Oakdale, authorities said. At some point the older man pulled out a gun and shot Clark in the chest.

Clark, who lived in the 2900 block of North Halsted, was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

An autopsy Thursday ruled his death a homicide.

The shooter called 911 and remained at the scene, where he was questioned by police, according to Ald. Tom Tunney. He said the man does have a valid concealed carry license.

This is not a random incident,” Tunney said at the time.

Chicago Police said the shooter was later released without charges, and provided no update on the case as of Thursday afternoon.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Aunt faces federal charge of giving gun to teenage niece charged with killing Endia Martin

By JON SEIDEL
Chicago Sun-Times

The aunt of the girl accused of fatally shooting Endia Martin has been indicted by a federal grand jury for her role in the 14-year-old’s 2014 murder.

Vandetta Redwood | Chicago Police

Vandetta Redwood | Chicago Police

faces 10 years in federal prison if convicted after she was indicted for giving a loaded .38-caliber revolver to a minor. U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez ordered Redwood into custody Thursday after she pleaded not guilty at her arraignment, according to federal prosecutors.

Redwood invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify last month when she took the witness stand during the trial of her cousin, Donnell Flora. A jury found Flora guilty of first-degree murder in Martin’s death.
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Memorial scholarship created for Aaren O’Connor, who died after being struck by stray bullet in Heart of Chicago

By JORDAN OWEN and JEFF MAYES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Aaren O’Connor was in her car, talking on the phone to her father in California, when she was struck by a stray bullet Friday night in the South Side Heart of Chicago neighborhood. Two days later she was dead.

About 7:30 p.m. Friday, the 25-year-old California native was sitting in her 2009 gray Honda Civic in the 2000 block of West 21st Place after work, talking to her father on her cellphone, according to Chicago Police.

That’s when a fight broke out down the block and shots were fired. One of the bullets went through the car window and struck her in the head.

Her roommate found O’Connor unresponsive in her car and she was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she was pronounced brain dead at 4:48 p.m. Sunday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
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Apollo needs new home after his rescuer, Vietnam veteran Robert Howard, was shot to death in University Village

Robert Howard Jr.

Robert Howard Jr. was a graduate of VALOR (Veterans Advancing Lives of Rescues). He was killed on Jan. 26 and is missed by loved ones, Safe Humane Chicago members, and his emotional support dog, Apollo.

By BRITTANY REYES
Homicide Watch Chicago

The death of Robert Howard Jr. left the dog he’d once rescued without a home and his best friend.

Howard, a 62-year-old Vietnam War veteran killed in a shooting in University Village on Jan. 26, was the proud owner of Apollo, a big, joyful puppy who was matched with Howard through Veterans Advancing the Lives of Rescues (VALOR).

VALOR is an 8-week Safe Humane Chicago program that pairs military veterans struggling with post traumatic stress disorder with animals that had been abused, neglected or used for fighting.

After struggling with PTSD since his three-year tour in Vietnam from 1970-73, Howard began participating in VALOR in early 2015. His experience with the program was so positive that he decided to adopt a dog for himself, according to Cynthia Bathurst, the organization’s executive director.
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Dwight Hughes Jr. killed in Humboldt Park shooting that left second man injured

Dwight Hughes Jr. was killed in a Humboldt Park neighborhood shooting Sunday afternoon that also left a second man wounded.

About 12:45 p.m., the 21-year-old Hughes was outside in the 3900 block of West Augusta when three people walked out of an alley and one of them started shooting, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Hughes, of the 3400 block of West Foster, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:06 a.m., authorities said.

An autopsy showed he died of a gunshot wound to the neck, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office.

A 20-year-old man was also shot in the head, right arm and torso at the same location, police said. He took himself to Norwegian American Hospital and was was transferred to Stroger Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

WEEK IN REVIEW: 17 killed in Chicago violence, including six members of one family in Gage Park

By JEFF MAYES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

rockwell-CST-032812-3.JPGAt least 17 people were killed in violence in Chicago in the last week, including one of the most shocking crimes in the city in recent memory in which six members of the same family, including two young boys, were found slain in a home that one responding police officer called a “bloody mess.”

Chicago Police said there were no signs that anyone had ransacked a house where six people, three generations of one Mexican immigrant family, had been slain. The victims—two men, two women and two boys ages 10 and 13,—were found dead Thursday afternoon after police checked on the well-being of a man who didn’t show up to work for two days.

Family members and the medical examiner’s office identified the victims as: 62-year-old Noe Martinez Sr. and his wife, 58-year-old Rosaura Martinez; their adult children, 38-year-old Noe Martinez Jr. and 32-year-old Maria Herminia Martinez; and Herminia’s sons, 10-year-old Alexis Cruz and 13-year-old Leonardo Cruz.

Autopsies found the boys suffered “sharp force” injuries, which a spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office defined as either a stabbing or cutting wound, or both. Herminia Martinez died of gunshot wounds. Noe Martinez Sr. died of “sharp force” wounds. And his wife and his son, Noe Jr., died of “multiple sharp and blunt force injuries,” autopsies showed.

While a police source said the family was targeted, no motive for the crime has been given, and no suspects were in custody four days later.

The last homicide of the week left one man dead and another wounded in a Humboldt Park neighborhood shooting Sunday afternoon. About 12:45 p.m., 21-year-old Dwight Hughes Jr. was outside in the 3900 block of West Augusta when three people walked out of an alley and one of them started shooting, according to police and the medical examiner’s office.
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35-year-old James Lewis fatally shot while driving in West Englewood

James Lewis was shot Monday morning while driving through the West Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, and he died two hours later.

The 35-year-old was driving near 69th and Marshfield when shots rang out about 9:50 a.m., according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

He kept driving for about another block, and finally stopped near 69th and Paulina, police said.

That’s where Lewis was found in the vehicle suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died at 11:58 a.m., authorities said.

He lived in the 6600 block of South Winchester.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Gang member gets 51 years for revenge shooting that killed Miguel Hernandez in 2014 in South Chicago

By JORDAN OWEN
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Khalie Early | Illinois Dept. of Corrections

Khalie Early | Illinois Dept. of Corrections

A gang member was sentenced to 51 years in prison last for a fatal retaliation shooting in the South Chicago neighborhood in 2014 that took the life of Miguel Hernandez.

Khalie Early, 21, was found guilty of murder and aggravated battery with discharge of a firearm on Jan. 7 after a trial, according to Cook County court records.

Early, an admitted member of the Black P-Stone gang, went to 86th and Escanaba on Sept. 28, 2014, because he knew the area was controlled by the Vice Lords, prosecutors said at the time.

Early, armed with a loaded semi-automatic handgun, was looking for revenge for the shooting of a fellow gang member, prosecutors said.
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Third man charged with botched 2014 home invasion that left Desmond Gunawardana and an accomplice dead

By MITCHELL ARMENTROUT
Chicago Sun-Times Wire

Brandon Perkins | Chicago Police

Brandon Perkins | Chicago Police

A Tennessee man is the third person charged in connection with a botched 2014 home invasion in Norwood Park that left homeowner Desmond Gunawardana, and their alleged accomplice Miran Cerimagic, dead.

Brandon Perkins, 22, was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant Wednesday for the Sept. 5, 2014, incident in the 5800 block of North Mobile, according to Chicago Police. Brittney Mitchell, 19; and 23-year-old Orhan Cerimagic have been held without bond on murder charges since then, Homicide Watch Chicago reported previously.

Mitchell thought an acquaintance, later identified as the 35-year-old Gunawardana, had a large stash of drugs at his home and schemed to steal them along with Perkins, Orhan Cerimagic and his 20-year-old brother Miran, prosecutors said at Mitchell’s bond hearing in the days after the attack.
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