Gang War Led to Shooting of 5-Year-Old Boy on Fourth of July: Prosecutors

By Erica Demarest and Emily Morris  on July 7, 2013 8:58am  | Updated on July 7, 2013 4:43pm

CHICAGO — A West Pullman man is being held without bail in the Fourth of July shooting that injured a 5-year-old boy, which prosecutors said resulted from a gang war between two factions of the Gangster Disciples.

Just after midnight Friday, Darrell Chambers, 24, opened fire in the 1300 block of West 117th Street — injuring three people who were celebrating Independence Day in Cooper Park, authorities said. Among those shot was 5-year-old Jaden Donald, who had his kidney, pancreas and spleen removed during emergency surgery.

In court Sunday, Assistant State's Attorney Jennifer Dillman said the park is the territory of the "Cooper Park" faction of the Gangster Disciples, while Chambers is a member of the gang's "Ragtown Boys" faction. Dillman said the two factions have been at war.

Dillman said Chambers walked up 117th Street about 12:30 a.m. Friday and started firing gunshots into the park, and continued firing shots as he got closer to the park.

Jaden's mother had taken Jaden and his three older siblings there to celebrate the holiday with friends. The bullets struck Jaden and two older men, who were hit in the leg and the wrist.

Chambers, of the 11700 block of South Peoria Street, then ran from the scene, but three different witnesses later identified him in a lineup.

Chambers was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated battery/discharge of a firearm.

On Sunday, Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered Chambers held without bail.

Dillman noted that Chambers has a prior weapons-related conviction, and once espoused the virtues of being in a gang in a 2010 ABC7 news report on Roseland gangs.

In the video, Chambers warns rival gangs to stay off his turf.

"Don't bring your a-- around here," he said.

At a group prayer for Jaden outside Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he is being treated, his mother said she was "so glad" that police arrested Chambers.

Jasmine Dillon-Donald said her son's condition is stable, but that he's sedated in a coma.

She said he's stirred a few times, especially when she talked to him at his bedside about his favorite superhero, Spider-Man. She was telling him about the new Spider-Man pajamas waiting for him when he gets home, said the Rev. Dan Willis, a pastor at the family's church.

It was "like he was trying to respond," said Willis, of the Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Alsip.

Jaden's three siblings were at the prayer vigil beside their mother and pastor, and Willis said he's helped the family with their ordeal.

"They're very fearful, very scared right now," Willis said of Jaden's siblings.

But Willis said that knowing  a suspect is in jail is "bringing [the family] some level of comfort."

Jaden was one of more than 60 people wounded in shootings since the start of the holiday weekend, including a 7-year-old who was also celebrating at a South Side park on the Fourth of July. 

"In my neighborhood, we've been seeing a lot of this," Dillon-Donald said, calling the violence "a disaster every day."

As for her message to Chambers?

"Where was you head at?" she said. "Why would you do something like this?"

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