BY MICHAEL LANSU
Homicide Watch Chicago Editor
A 16-year-old boy and girl have each been charged with murder in the August shooting death of artist Walter Neely near Chicago Police Headquarters.
Kenneth Brown is accused of fatally shooting Neely, 25, about 11:35 p.m. Aug. 15 in the 3400 block of South Indiana Avenue — about a block from Chicago Police Headquarters, authorities said.
“A policeman could have been looking out the windows over there and actually see who got shot,” Neely’s mother, LaDonna Coney, had said.
Neely had two small children, Tiyanna and Trevion, his mother said. He was out getting milk for his daughter when he was shot, his step-grandmother, Lula Coney, had said.
LaDonna Coney said she her son was a natural artist, and she wanted him to enroll at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“He drew animated characters, and he drew Chicago,” LaDonna Coney said. “He wasn’t a nine to five guy, and he could really draw with those markers, stencils and charcoal.”
Neely had prior success in school and graduated from Phillips Academy High School in Bronzeville a year early, his mother said.
As a younger man, Neely pleaded guilty to a 2010 drug charge and was sentenced to probation, which he completed with satisfaction, according to court records. He was currently awaiting trial on a 2013 felony gun charge, according to court records.
“He is an ex offender but he was really on the road to getting himself together,” his mother said. “He didn’t walk the streets like that anymore. I never thought my son would die on these streets, he was smart and he knew people in the streets.”
Brown, of the 3800 block of South Michigan Avenue, was identified as the shooter in a photo array and was arrested Friday, authorities said. He was charged as an adult with murder for allegedly pulling the trigger, police said said.
The 16-year-old girl, Dreyana Grooms of the 2700 block of South Dearborn Street, was also charged as an adult with murder, authorities said. Her role in the killing was not immediately known.
Both teens are expected to appear in court for a bond hearing Saturday. Police were not releasing their names because they are juveniles.
— Contributing: Angelique White