Derrick Allmon / Photo from Chicago Police
BY TINA SFONDELES
A gang member recently out of jail shot and killed a 9-year-old boy because he thought the child was warning rival gang members of his presence, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said.
“This didn’t have to happen,” McCarthy said Friday after announcing the charges.
In the end, four men were charged with first-degree murder: Derrick Allmon, 19, of the 7400 block of South Shore Drive; Jabari Williams, 22, of the 1900 block of North Sycamore Street in Hanover Park; Michael Baker, 19, of the 8100 block of South Wentworth Avenue; and Paris Denard, 19, of the 7300 block of South Dorchester Avenue.
The four are accused in the Aug. 20 shooting death of 9-year-old Antonio Smith in the backyard of a home in the 1200 block of East 73rd Street.
Family members told the Chicago Sun-Times Antonio stormed out of the family apartment when his mother refused to get him a cupcake.
McCarthy said the four men were part of a group driving around in two vehicles in search of rival gang members. They stopped when they saw two potential targets and Williams gave Allmon a gun and told him to shoot both men.
Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered all four men held without bond Saturday.
When Allmon entered a backyard he saw Antonio and, believing the child was warning the men, opened fire and shot the boy several times in the back and side, McCarthy said. Allmon was between four and 10 feet away from Antonio when the fatal shots were fired.
When Allmon saw Antonio, the boy screamed “Hey!” before being shot six times, in the back, shoulder, side and hand, prosecutors said Saturday.
After Allmon shot Antonio, he got into a getaway vehicle driven by Baker and told him, “I just hit a shorty. I just hit a shorty,” prosecutors said.
Allmon went to Denard’s house where he changed his shirt and rinsed his hands in urine to clean off the gun residue, prosecuors said.
After Allmon’s arrest, he allegedly told police where he tossed the gun, which was recovered on Thursday.
McCarthy said Allmon had gotten out of jail earlier in August after serving 18 months for possession of a loaded weapon. Allmon was arrested in 2012, pleaded guilty in March 2013 and was sentenced to 3 1/2 half years in prison. He was released on parole in August.
“Unfortunately this tragic murder is yet one more example of the strife being caused by gangs and guns in our community. But The real kicker to this entire case is that it didn’t have to happen,” McCarthy said. “He should not have been on the street to commit this murder.”
Williams was arrested Wednesday when police spotted him with a loaded gun. The other men were arrested Thursday.
The .380-caliber handgun used to kill Antonio was found Thursday in a nearby sewer, McCarthy said. He said the gun has been used in two shootings this year — including a murder still under investigation.
“Chicago’s murder problem is a gun problem,” McCarthy said. “Something has to happen. It’s too easy to obtain a firearm.”
McCarthy credited investigators and community members in finding the suspects, some of which were known within the neighborhood by nicknames.
“When this murder first occurred investigators initially had very little to work with, but the nature of this murder, that a 9-year-old boy could be gunned down in cold blood, outraged both the community and our residents,” McCarthy said. “The community refused to stay silent and provided us with information that culminated in the arrest of these three offenders, all of whom are documented gang members.”
McCarthy said there is no evidence Antonio or anyone in his family had any gang affiliation.
Antonio’s mother, Brandi Murry, said the boy had run out of their new aparmtent in the 1100 block of East 73rd Street because he was upset after she told him he couldn’t have a cupcake.
Twenty minutes later, Chicago Police found Antonio behind a home in the 1200 block of East 71st Street. He had been shot multiple times and later died at Comer Children’s Hospital.
The four suspects will appear for a bond hearing on Saturday.