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Slain Urban Prep Senior Was Trying To Defuse Fight, Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | June 20, 2017 6:06pm | Updated on June 22, 2017 11:44am
 Yuri Hardy (left) was gunned down Dec 28. Tyshaun Powell (right) is charged with first-degree murder.
Yuri Hardy (left) was gunned down Dec 28. Tyshaun Powell (right) is charged with first-degree murder.
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COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The Urban Prep student who was gunned down leaving a dance competition in December was trying to defuse a fight when he was killed, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Yuri Hardy, 19, had just performed with his dance troupe in Austin when a teammate's guest opened fire in the 100 block of North Central Avenue about 8 p.m. Dec. 28 — fatally shooting Hardy in his back, thigh and buttocks.

According to prosecutors, the teammate invited Tyshawn Powell and two juvenile accomplices to the show at Austin Town Hall Park, 5610. W. Lake St., via social media.

Powell and the juveniles only knew the invitee; they weren't friends with anyone else on the team, Assistant State's Attorney Craig Taczy said during a bond hearing Tuesday.

As the troupe and guests walked south on Central Avenue after the show, prosecutors said, the two juveniles started to pick a fight with one of Hardy's teammates — hitting the man repeatedly.

Hardy tried to intervene by pulling the teammate away from the fight, Taczy said.

That angered Powell and the juveniles, who began verbally harassing Hardy and trying to fight him, prosecutors said. One of the juveniles jumped Hardy, who fought back and "began to get the better of [the] juvenile," Taczy said.

That's when Powell, now 20, pulled a gun and shot Hardy three times, according to authorities. Hardy succumbed to his injuries the following day at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Hardy would've graduated from Urban Prep West Campus this month, according to a letter from Tim King, the school's founder and CEO. King described Hardy as fun-loving and joyful man who was devoted to dance and hoped to become an entrepreneur.

Hardy was the fourth Urban Prep student or alumnus to be killed in 2016.

Witnesses were able to identify Powell as the shooter, prosecutors said. Surveillance footage captured the beginning and aftermath of the fight. Police recovered four 9-mm casings on the scene.

Powell, of the 100 block of North Parkside Avenue, is charged with first-degree murder.

Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. on Tuesday denied Powell bail.