A suspect is in custody according to Chicago Police involving the shooting death of nine-year-old Janari Ricks. Ricks was playing Friday evening in a vacant lot near the 900 Block of North Cambridge when shots rang out. The young boy was hit in the chest and rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital, where he would be pronounced dead just one hour later. Police say that Ricks was not the intended target of violence.
Brendan Deenihan, the Chicago Police Department’s Chief of Detectives, expressed Monday during a press conference that he’s confident the charges against the suspect in custody will be approved and filed. He went on to praise Rick’s neighbors for stepping forward and helping officers identify the suspect.
“We’re not in this position without the help of the community who came forward and gave us information which allowed us to identify and arrest the suspect,” Deenihan stated.
Aldermen Walter Burnett of the 27th ward also spoke with reporters on Monday. Burnett informed those in attendance that the suspect and the intended target were former residents of the now-defunct Cabrini Green housing projects near where Ricks was killed and cautioned non-residents against going in or near the rowhouses.
“Stop coming over to the neighborhood and doing your dirt. Do dirt where you live, or do not do dirt at all. But stop coming to the rowhouses and doing things. The people in the rowhouses are just trying to survive, just trying to live, just trying to raise their families.” Burnett said
He later went on to say, “The violence did not come from people who live in the rowhouses. We need to keep these people out of our neighborhood.”
Superintendent David Brown stated that he would not speak on the suspect’s criminal history until charges were formally filed but expressed that he would not be shocked if it was extensive.
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer living in Chicago. Follow her on social @beboldshineon.