Tyshawn Lee is a 9-year-old boy who was killed in Chicago last week, after being lured into an alley and shot in a gang-related attack, authorities said.
According to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Lee was targeted because of his "family relationship with a member of a gang."
McCarthy told reporters in a press conference: "Tyshawn’s father has ties to a certain gang that is in conflict with another gang,"
The Chicago Tribune reported that Pierre Stokes, the boy’s father, disagreed with what police have said about him, but refused to speak specifically on whether he does belong to a gang.
McCarthy told reporters that investigators believe Tyshawn’s death last week Monday was the latest in a series of gang-related events that go back as far as August, or earlier, of this year. Police are looking for a number of people, he said, not just one person. No arrests have been made in Tyshawn’s case yet.
McCarthy asked anyone with information to step forward. Authorities are offering a $35,000 reward.
In addition, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a priest and local faith leader in Chicago and outspoken advocate against gun violence, offered to pay to relocate any witnesses who feel they would be in danger for speaking out. "What happened to Tyshawn Lee took us to a new low," Pfleger said. "This wasn’t a drive-by. This was not a spray of bullets. A baby was executed. A baby was assassinated right behind us in this alley."
In reaction to Lee’s death, Spike Lee has released a clip from his upcoming, hotly-debated new film "Chi-Raq," which tackles, head-on, the issues around the many deaths of black Chicago youth like Tyshawn Lee.
In the clip, John Cusack, seemingly playing a fictionalized version of the aforementioned Rev. Michael Pfleger (a Fr. Mike Corridan) emphatically condemns any apathy in relation to these deaths, during a sermon, emphasizing the need for progressive action, challenging his community and thus, the audience watching the film. And, I assume, to drive the point home, Spike loops the short clip within the embed below, so that it plays repeatedly, over and over – about 10 times in total. The video is captioned with the words: "9-year-old Tyshawn Lee was laid to rest this morning in Chicago, Illinois. May God Bless Him."
Watch the clip, titled "God Bless Tyshawn Lee," below: