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Slain Boy's Dad Says Tyshawn Was Too Young To Be Targeted: 'He Ain't 18'

By Joe Ward | November 4, 2015 5:22pm | Updated on November 5, 2015 8:39am

Pierre Stokes talks about the attention he has received from police following his 9-year-old son's death on Monday. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

AUBURN GRESHAM — On Wednesday morning, an unmarked squad car turned on its sirens and sped eastbound down 80th Street towards Marshfield Avenue, where Pierre Stokes was outside with his friends.

Stokes, whose 9-year-old son Tyshawn Lee was shot and killed Monday, wasn't receiving an update from officers on the homicide investigation, he said. They talked to him briefly then drove away.

"They trying to see if I'll get mad, if I'm gonna do something. They telling me they want to lock me up," Stokes said, alleging that police have been harassing him ever since he heard about his son's death. "I don't want revenge. I want justice."

Yet police say that, "given the nature of his son's death," Stokes is not doing enough to help police find the killer, according to Chicago Police head spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Chicago Police said a "person of interest," accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in to detectives some time Wednesday, but no additional information was available.

That person was later released, according to the Tribune. Officer Antoinette Ursitti, Chicago Police spokeswoman, said no charges have been filed in relation to Lee's murder but could not provide additional information.

"We're not getting the cooperation we expect from the father," Guglielmi said.

Police had a heavy presence near Stokes' home and near the site where Tyshawn died Tuesday, as Guglielmi said the department is "maniacally focused" on finding the boy's killer.

"The Chicago Police Department is committed to finding out how this kid was killed," Guglielmi said.

Tyshawn was fatally shot Monday after an argument broke out in an alley in the 8000 block of South Damen Avenue. That's when someone shot Tyshawn in his head and chest. He died in the alley right behind his grandmother's house.

Friends and classmates of Tyshawn Lee, 9, made a memorial poster for the slain boy. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

While police have not determined if Tyshawn was the target of the shooting, his autopsy showed that he died from multiple gunshot wounds and no one else in the alley was reported wounded. Detectives are also looking into whether the shooting might have been in retaliation for recent gang shootings in the area, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Stokes said he believes his son was targeted, given the nature of his death, but that he doesn't know who killed Tyshawn.

Still, there is no reason why his son would be shot in retaliation for any gang shooting, Stokes said. He said those recent shootings did not involve him and that, if someone did want to harm him, it would be easy enough to do.

"That don't got nothing to do with me," Stokes said of the recent shootings. "It definitely don't got nothing to do with my son. He's 9. He ain't 18."

Stokes is a documented gang member, according to a law enforcement source.

One of Stokes' friends pointed out where a speeding squad car drove over the curb Wednesday, ripping up a tuft of grass in the process.

For Stokes, the police harassment began as soon as he learned his son was shot, he said. Instead of allowing him to see his son's body or tell him what was happening, Stokes said police began questioning him immediately.

"My son was out there for a very long time in a pool of his own blood," he said.

As Stokes spoke with DNAinfo Chicago, police drove past him and his friends three times. An unmarked squad car with three officers passed twice, and police inside smiled and waved when Stokes pointed them out.

Stokes, 25, said the constant police presence has made the grieving process difficult, but that his friends and family have helped him keep calm.

"We're trying to maintain, man," he said. "The police wanna see me mad. I wouldn't [do anything]. I'm not a kid."

Police maintained a heavy presence near the scene of Tyshawn's death Wednesday, two days after the shooting. One officer staked out by the mouth of the alley pulled over a young woman who had driven slowly through the alley where Tyshawn's memorial is.

"Do you know where you are right now?" the officer said to the woman. "You're in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago. A little boy died in this alley. Where are you from?"

There was also a heavy police presence near Scott Joplin Elementary, 7927 S. Honore Street. Two squad cars and one unmarked police car were parked outside the school's main entrance, and a police van was parked down the street.

Joplin's principal did not return requests for comment.

Other squad cars were positioned on intersections near the school and where Stokes was standing.

Asked what he thought of the heavy police presence, Stokes said he hoped it would help detectives find the killer. He has doubts, however, about the police's motive and about their ability to find the killer.

"I'm hoping and praying they do," he said. "I don't want nothing but jail for this man."

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