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Gang Member Watched Tyshawn Lee Play on Swings Before Murder: Prosecutors

By Mina Bloom | November 27, 2015 5:59am | Updated on November 27, 2015 3:10pm
 Tyshawn Lee, 9, was shot and killed in a South Side alley Monday afternoon.
Tyshawn Lee, 9, was shot and killed in a South Side alley Monday afternoon.
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Karla Lee

CHICAGO — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy vowed to destroy the gangs responsible for the execution of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee while announcing charges against the boy's alleged killers Friday morning. 

"They are going to be obliterated," he said of the gangs involved in the Nov. 2 execution of Tyshawn. "That gang just signed its own death warrant.”

Tyshawn was lured into an alley and executed, likely because of his family's gang ties, near 80th and Damen on Nov. 2, McCarthy said shortly after the shooting.

Friday afternoon, 27-year-old Corey Morgan of south suburban Lansing was ordered held without bail on first-degree murder charges stemming from the shooting.

 Prosecutors say Cory Morgan (left) and Kevin Edwards planned the heinous murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee.
Prosecutors say Cory Morgan (left) and Kevin Edwards planned the heinous murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee.
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Chicago Police Department

Tyshawn's mother, Karla Lee said after court the charges against Morgan are "sickening" but she's happy he's been brought to justice.

"I'm going to stop crying. I'm going to dry these tears off," Lee said. "I know my baby's in a better place."

Assistant State's Attorney George Canellis said the shooting stemmed from an ongoing feud between Morgan's gang, the BBG (Bang Bang Gang)/Terror Dome faction of the Black P Stones and the Killaward faction of the Gangster Disciples.

The feud came to a boil after an Oct. 13 shooting in which Morgan's brother, Tracey Morgan was killed and his mother was wounded. Morgan was so enraged he threatened to shoot "grandmas, mamas, kids and all" in retaliation.

Canellis said Morgan and two other men went out daily with guns looking to retaliate, Canellis said. On Nov. 2 they were driving around when they spotted Tyshawn at Dawes Park. and one of the men lured him into the alley where they shot him, Canellis said.

Court documents paint a disturbing picture of the planned attack, explaining that Morgan and his accomplices allegedly saw Tyshawn playing on the swings in a playlot with his basketball beside him. One of the suspects allegedly started dribbling Tyshawn's ball, ultimately luring him into the alley where police say he was "executed."

Tyshawn was hit in his back, forearm and head, and part of his thumb was shot off as if he was raising his hand to block the shots, Canellis said.

"This murder was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner," Canellis said.

In denying bail for Morgan, an emotional Judge Peggy Chiampas called him "a predator, stalking his prey" — a little boy stuck in a gang war.

"There is nothing this court can do. You are a danger, not only to everyone else, but to yourself," Chiampas said.

Morgan's attorney, Jonathan Brayman, refused to answer questions after court, saying only that Morgan denies any involvement in Tyshawn's death.

McCarthy said a second person who took part in Tyshawn's murder is in custody on a gun charge and an arrest warrant has been issued for a third man involved named Kevin Edwards.

"Turn yourself in," McCarthy said when asked to send a message to Edwards. "We're going to catch you. We're definitely going to catch you, it's just a matter of time. And in the case of a heinous crime like this, it's probably better if we catch you than someone else.

McCarthy called Tyshawn's death "a crime that shook our city and quite frankly was an act of barbarism."

"Tyshawn Lee was failed on many levels but at the end of the day our detectives were unrelenting in the pursuit of justice," he said.

McCarthy pointed to work by detectives and tips from the community in the solving of the case, saying people were brave enough to step up despite fear of the "monsters" who did this. 

"I just can't tell you how ... involved these detectives have been in this case. Their spirit never wavered," McCarthy said, also praising the community for stepping up. "This was clearly not a case of no snitching, but there was a lot of fear. If you have a monster willing to assassinate a 9-year-old child, what else is that person willing to do?" 

Morgan is “an individual with an extensive violent history who likely shouldn't have been on the streets," McCarthy said. "He’s a convicted felon and gang member." 

The attorney who represented Morgan on the gun charges said that his client had been held in protective custody. Morgan then posted 10 percent of his bail in that case — or $100,000 — and was released.

After he was released Morgan and his family were fearful for his safety, attorney Jeff Kent said, with Morgan having been labeled "enemy No. 1 to a whole bunch of people" because he was being investigated in the Tyshawn case.

Police have said the boy was killed due to gang ties maintained by the boy's father, Pierre Stokes, and McCarthy said there was an ongoing gang feud that led to Lee's death. Stokes has said he gave up gangbanging for his son and told DNAinfo Chicago he wants justice, not revenge.

Kent last week said Morgan's family is worried, saying Tyshawn's family was "directed toward" his client due to the investigations.

"He's the lightning rod on this for that 9-year-old boy, that's where it seems to be a lot of the community anger," Kent said.

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