One in custody for triple slaying of teens on Southeast Side

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The alleged shooter in last week’s triple slaying on the Southeast Side that claimed the lives of three teens was taken into custody early Tuesday morning, but no charges have been filed, said Chicago Police Asst. Supt. James Jackson.

The alleged shooter in last week’s triple slaying on the Southeast Side that claimed the lives of three teens was taken into custody early Tuesday morning, but no charges have been filed, said Chicago Police Asst. Supt. James Jackson. Kendrick Pitts, 17, Raheem Washington, 15, and Johnny Edwards, 13, were caught in a hail of gunfire Friday afternoon in the 8700 block of South Exchange Avenue. Police said it appears to be gang-related and that an assault rifle was used. It has not been determined if the three were the intended targets. Police have not ruled out if others played a role in the homicides. Law enforcement officers hoped that police surveillance cameras in the area would provide leads, but the camera on the corner of 87th Street and South Exchange Avenue wasn’t working properly. Still, without tips from the cameras, leads provided to the police by residents have been invaluable during the investigation, Jackson said. “The community was a tremendous help during this ongoing investigation. We can’t solve these crimes on our own,” Jackson said. Pitts and Washington were students at Bowen High School, and Edwards was a seventh grader at Mireles Academy. Less than six months ago on the same block, a 10-year-old girl was felled by gang crossfire. On Labor Day, Nequiel Fowler stopped near her home to tie her blind sister’s shoes when she was struck by a bullet. Four men with gang ties were charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder charges for their roles in the fatal shooting. Chicago Public Schools said grief counselors were made available at Bowen and Mireles on Monday. “It’s tough for any school to lose a student to violence,” said Monique Bond, spokesperson for CPS. Chicago Police officers are assigned to public schools on a daily basis, however, on Monday, security appeared to be beefed up outside of Bowen, which is a few blocks away from the grisly murder scene. When asked if manpower was added in the gang-ridden area, a spokesperson for the police department said they do not comment on “deployment strategies.” Mayor Richard M. Daley expressed outrage at the news of the incident, calling the shooter(s) “evil.” At a news conference Tuesday at police headquarters, Daley, flanked by local and state elected officials, clergy leaders, anti-gun advocates and parents of slain children, again called for stricter gun legislation. The group called for all gun dealers to be licensed by the state, limiting gun purchases to one per month, requiring all private sales of handguns to undergo a background check by a federally licensed firearms dealer prior to sale, a statewide ban on assault weapons, increase penalties for shooting students on or near school grounds and on or near public transit and creation of an anti-gun trafficking taskforce with a call for other Midwest states to follow suit. Daley said gun trafficking is an interstate problem that local police departments have no jurisdiction over. It’s a federal issue, but it unfortunately gets pushed back to the local level, he said. “They (federal authorities) should take as much responsibility,” Daley said. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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