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Fistfight Between 14-Year-Olds Led to Shamiya Adams' Death, McCarthy Says

By  Josh McGhee Ted Cox and Quinn Ford | July 24, 2014 10:05am | Updated on July 24, 2014 5:43pm

 Tevin Lee, 18, was charged with murder in the death of Shamiya Adams, police said.
Shamiya Adams Homicide
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BRONZEVILLE — Family members of slain 11-year-old Shamiya Adams said news of an arrest in the case has provided some sense of closure but not peace.

The 11-year-old was killed after a stray bullet came through a window and hit her last Friday night while she attended a sleepover with friends in East Garfield Park, authorities said.

Thursday morning, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the girl's death had a "haunting familiarity" with other child-on-child crimes in Chicago.

Young kids — 14-year-olds — had fought earlier in the day, and older kids escalated it, McCarthy said at a news conference announcing charges in the case.

The bullet that killed Shamiya came from an 18-year-old who fired shots at rivals in retaliation for the earlier fistfight, McCarthy said.

 Shamiya Adams, 11, died when a stray bullet struck her in the head during a sleepover in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.
Shamiya Adams, 11, died when a stray bullet struck her in the head during a sleepover in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.
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Family photo

The shooter missed his targets, but one shot passed through an open window and struck Shamiya in the head, McCarthy.

"And now we have another child murdered," McCarthy said. "At the end of the day, you introduce a gun into a fistfight and this is what happens."

Tevin Lee, 18, was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, police said.

McCarthy related the case to the death of 14-year-old Endia Martin, who allegedly was shot by another 14-year-old girl in an argument over a boy. Authorities said the shooter asked her 25-year-old uncle for the gun. He was charged in the case as well.

Thursday evening, dozens gathered at Fatso's Last Stand in Ukrainian Village to attend a fundraiser for Shamiya's family. Shaneetha Goodloe, Shamiya's mother, was flanked by family members as her father, Roger Goodloe spoke to reporters.

Goodloe said his family was relieved to hear news of the charges against his granddaughter's alleged shooter.

"[There's] some closure, but to lose a baby, you know, that's going to go on in our heads forever, the way it happened," Goodloe said. "It's a tragedy.

"We just want to give thanks to everybody that really helped out ... to move forward and get this case on the road," he said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped by the restaurant to meet with Shamiya's mother and family members.

Earlier Thursday, Emanuel also drew parallels between those two cases and what he called the "senseless, meaningless loss of life."

Emanuel said in the case of Shamiya Adams, it was a teen disagreement "that at worst should've been a a fistfight, and some individual ... goes and gets a gun to resolve it."

Speaking at a Downtown news conference, Emanuel said, "There are too may guns easily available, and too little values not around to guide people."

He added that "We can do something about this. You have a dispute, leave it to words. If you can't leave it to words, leave it alone. Put the guns down."

Around 9:35 p.m. last Friday, Shamiya was inside a home making s'mores with friends at a sleepover in East Garfield Park, excited to attend a church picnic, when the wayward bullet came through the open window, ricocheted off a wall and struck her. She died Saturday morning at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Police said Lee, of the 600 block of South Lawndale Avenue, was looking to retaliate after one of his associates, a 14-year-old, got into a fight earlier with another 14-year-old.

McCarthy said Lee, a known gang member, opened fire after he spotted the people he thought were involved in the earlier fight standing next to the building where Shamiya was. McCarthy said police believe he fired four or five times, and the gun has yet to be recovered.

Lee was not alone when he opened fire, McCarthy said.

"The case isn't over yet. Our investigation is not done. We've got this one guy under arrest. We're very confident, we couldn't be more confident that we've got the right guy, but the investigation is ongoing," McCarthy said.

He said Shamiya's death once again illustrates the ways gangs negatively affect communities.

"As all too often with gang violence, an innocent life was taken in a senseless act," McCarthy said.

Although many Chicago homicide investigations are plagued by a lack of cooperation, the probe into Shamiya's death brought out many witnesses, McCarthy said.

Of nine witnesses already lined up, two came forward to police to provide details, McCarthy said. Police located seven more people who witnessed the shooting, he said.

"Folks came forward and helped us," he said.

Friends and family remembered Shamiya as "a joyful innocent child" who was active in her church.

"It's ridiculous. It really, really needs to stop," the girl's grandmother, Nanette Dailey, told reporters.

Speaking at a fundraiser in the Loop, first lady Michelle Obama, said gun violence is taking a toll on the city's children.

“There are kids like the kids here in Chicago who are confronting outrageous levels of violence. Kids who are losing their lives day after day. Shootings that devastate our communities and break our hearts and rob this country of so much talent and promise. Those kids deserve so much better than this,” she said.

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