Karla Lee wasn’t supposed to be there—no one expected her to attend Chicago police’s outdoor community meeting in Gresham Tuesday night, near where her only child was killed the night before.
Surrounded by few family and friends, the 26-year-old put on a brave face, walked up to the microphone at Dawes Park and delivered a somber but strong message.
“My son did not deserve to die. He was a good kid. He told me that, ‘Mom when I grow up, I’m going to buy you a house when I make it to the NBA,’ because he loved playing ball,” Lee said before about a hundred people sitting in white chairs nearby. “I just want justice for my son. Whomever knows anything, please let the police know. Please. He’s my only baby.”
Lee’s 9-year-old son Tyshawn was shot multiple times in an alley near his grandmother’s house on his way back from school Monday afternoon. He was less than a block from where he lived on the 2000 block of West 80th Street.
The next night, the Chicago Police Department launched Operation: Wake-Up!, hoping to spur neighbors to get involved in finding whoever killed yet another Chicago child.
Police were in full force, walking the streets around the park and patrolling the alleyways with sirens blaring and lights flashing.
“We don’t do these things every day. We do these things when someone has crossed that line in our community that should never be crossed,” said Glenn Brooks, area coordinator for CPD’s community policing program. “Last night, someone came into this community and crossed that line. We just not going to sit idly by. We’re not going to sit as a community.”
Sixth District Cmdr. Rodney Blisset would not provide many details on the investigation. Some published reports speculate that Tyshawn was targeted as a “retaliation killing,” for his father’s alleged role in a gang rivalry.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Blisset said. “I’m hoping tonight that some people will give us more information. I’m not saying people have been silent but we need some more information.”
Michael Puente is a reporter with WBEZ. Follow him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.