(CBS) – The father of a child fatally shot over the holiday weekend is a high-ranking gang member who was the intended target, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Sunday.
McCarthy held a news conference to respond to the spate of gun violence that left at least eight people dead and dozens injured since Thursday afternoon. The public outrage was focused on the death of Amari Brown, a 7-year-old boy who was shot in the chest in the Humboldt Park neighborhood after watching fireworks with his family.
The boy was with his dad, standing outside a building in the 1100 block of North Harding shortly before midnight, when gunfire erupted.
McCarthy expressed regret at the death of the boy, an innocent victim, and noted the child’s father, Antonio Brown, was the intended target. He said the father is a “ranking” gang member who is not cooperating with investigators.
Police have arrested the elder Brown 45 times for charges ranging from possession of an illegal firearm and fleeing and eluding police, McCarthy said. He had been released on $50,000 bond earlier this year, the superintendent said.
Amari Brown’s family members held an afternoon prayer vigil for the young victim, as a West Side organization offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
“It’s sad. He was 7 years old, and he got murdered,” the boy’s aunt, Andrina Hailey, said.
Amari was headed to the second grade this fall.
“Anybody who will take a gun and shoot up in a crowd where there are children — that person is a menace to society,” the Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Baptist Church said.
Mayor Emanuel met with the family of Amari Brown on Sunday afternoon to offer his condolences but did not speak to reporters. He told WBBM he was meeting with the family “as a father.”
The Chicago Police Department on Monday was expected to release statistics about the weekend violence, compared to the Fourth of July holiday last year.