17-year-old charged with fatal shooting of Alexander Townsend after witness IDs him at juvenile detention center

Chicago Sun-Times

Alexander Townsend | Facebook

Alexander Townsend | Facebook

A 17-year-old boy has been charged as an adult in the fatal drive-by shooting of Alexander Townsend after the surviving 16-year-old victim identified him and then recently saw him at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The 16-year-old boy told his mother that Jalen Hibbler shot at him and the 18-year-old Townsend in the South Shore neighborhood on Sept. 14. The mother went to police with that information, Assistant State’s Attorney Kristin Estrada said in court.

The 16-year-old was arrested on an unrelated charge Oct. 14, and three days later, while at the Juvenile Detention Center, he saw Hibbler twice, Estrada said.

In both instances, Hibbler placed his two fingers against his temple, mimicking a gun, Estrada said. The first time, Hibbler used his other hand to cover his mouth, Estrada said. He looked in the boy’s direction the second time, she said.

Townsend was killed when Hibbler shot from the back of a Black Dodge Avenger in the 2600 block of East 75th Street, according to prosecutors.

Minutes before, Townsend and boy were walking when the Dodge drove by, then stopped and reversed, blocking their path, Estrada said. Hibbler extended his arm from the vehicle and allegedly fired several times as the victims tried to run away.

Townsend, who was shot in the hand and abdomen, fell near the gate of a post office parking lot, authorities said. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The shooting was captured on a Chicago Police surveillance camera, Estrada said. The boy who identified Hibbler had known him at least six months before the shooting, she said.

Judge James Brown ordered Hibbler, of the 7600 block of South Kingston, held without bond on charges of murder and attempted murder.

A witness told the Chicago Sun-Times that Townsend and the 16-year-old boy were walking home with the boy’s mother after being turned away from their school, Excel Academy of South Shore, about two blocks from the crime scene.

The teens had been denied admission to the building because they failed to wear dress code-required bow ties, the witness said.

But a spokeswoman for the school said in an email that Townsend “was not sent home from school; he left our campus of his own volition that morning.”

Brittany Tressler said the school “does not send students away if they are in violation of the uniform policy. Instead, we loan students whatever they need to comply with the policy.”

She added: “Excel Academy is heartsick over this young man’s death.”

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