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Rapper Targeted in 2 Shootings That Killed Others Is Now in Jail

By Benjamin Woodard | January 30, 2015 8:57am
 Gerido Gonzales, 30, shovels blood-soaked snow from the parking lot of a Rogers Park McDonald’s in February, where four teens, one fatally, were shot.
Gerido Gonzales, 30, shovels blood-soaked snow from the parking lot of a Rogers Park McDonald’s in February, where four teens, one fatally, were shot.
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — Rapper Young Pappy survived a shooting attempt that left a 17-year-old dead outside a Rogers Park McDonald's, and later was unscathed when a bullet intended for him killed a photographer waiting for a bus instead, police have said.

But earlier this month, the rapper — whose real name is Shaquon Thomas — allegedly went back to that same McDonald's at 6740 N. Clark St., where he got in a fight with a man who later was shot across the street from the restaurant, police said. 

Now, Thomas —  whom authorities have told residents about at community meetings — is in jail.

He is locked up on $50,000 bail while awaiting a Thursday court hearing.

Ben Woodard spoke to Thomas' mother about her son's arrest:

Thomas was charged with marijuana possession and reckless conduct on Jan. 14 after he was arrested at his mother's home, according to a police report.

The 18-year-old man he got into a fight with was shot in the leg about 11:50 a.m. Police said the victim was cooperating in the investigation, but no charges have been filed in the shooting.

Thomas is no stranger to gunplay.

Last February, surveillance video captured a masked gunman opening fire on the rapper and the group he was walking with outside the McDonald's, striking him in the arm and killing 17-year-old Markeyo Carr, whose family lives in the same building as Thomas' mother. While Markeyo was with the group, his relatives have said he was not in a gang.

Then, on July 12, photographer Wil Lewis was killed by a stray bullet when another shooter opened fire at the rapper, who was walking in the 1300 block of Devon Avenue, police said. Lewis had been waiting for a bus and was shot in the back.

The rapper celebrated his 19th birthday in jail during the time between the shootings. He served about two months of a one-year sentence for unlawful use of a weapon/vehicle, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Now, Thomas is back in jail.

On Jan. 14, the rapper could be seen on surveillance camera footage "verbally assaulting" the man who later was shot, according to a police report. The commotion caused customers to rush out of the restaurant.

After the altercation, officers responded to shots fired in the 1600 block of West Columbia Avenue, where they found the victim, the report said.

Officers then went to Thomas' mother's home, where the rapper's mother allowed officers to search the apartment, the report said.

Thomas was found inside the unit, the report said. Before leaving, Thomas asked for his jacket. When officers searched the jacket, they found four knotted plastic bags containing pot, according to the report. The red-and-black jacket with an "Indian" on the back matched the description of someone who was seen fleeing the scene of the shooting, the report said.

A $50,000 bail was set for Thomas in court the next day, according to court records.

Thomas' mother, Ingrid Thomas, said Thursday there was no evidence to prove her son was the target of any shootings.

"I could believe that if my son was the only person out there, but he wasn't," she said, standing at the front door of the home where her son was arrested two weeks earlier. "I don't believe the police. They don't have proof."

She said her son had straight As in grade school, but began hanging around a bad crowd at Sullivan High School. (The police report of the most recent shooting incident described him as a known member of the Insane Cutthroat Gangstas, a Gangster Disciples street gang in Rogers Park.)

Now, she fears for her son's life, she said.

"It's very scary, and it's very frustrating," she said.

She said when her son was arrested, police entered her home with guns drawn. They later searched the home for hours "looking for a gun," she said, but didn't find any.

She said the police are "painting my son as someone that he's not."

"I'm not arguing with the police, but you can't believe everything they say," she said.

Thomas recently had been introduced to a Chicago Police Department program that refers people at risk of gun violence to social services, such as job training.

In addition to the recent incident, Thomas has other convictions in his background: In June 2013, he was convicted of felony unlawful use of a weapon and sentenced to two years probation, court records show, but he violated that probation and was sentenced to a year in prison.

The following year, Thomas racked up four misdemeanor convictions for retail theft, criminal trespass and two counts of reckless conduct, and was sentenced to a total of 65 days in jail.

Between stints in jail, the well-known rapper racked up more than 50,000 views on one of his most recent YouTube music videos, titled "Savages."

The song includes an apparent reference to the shootings.

"...Tried to set me up, but you missed n----," he raps.

Thomas has also published a video with fellow rapper and Insane Cutthroat Gangsta Keith Hayer, aka Bang Da Hitta.

The duo seems to have a close bond. Since Thomas was locked up, Hayer has been posting messages to his Facebook page calling for Thomas' release.

Contributing: Erica Demarest, Erin Meyer

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