CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he is “in awe” of the mother of 11-year-old Takiya Holmes, who was making arrangements to donate her daughter’s organs, after her child died Tuesday, one of the latest victims of gun violence in Chicago.
Antwan C. Jones, 19, was charged with first-degree murder Wednesday morning, for allegedly shooting Takiya in the head on Saturday, when he opened fire on rival gang members near 65th and King. Takiya died Tuesday morning.
The mayor praised residents of the Parkway Gardens neighborhood for helping identify Jones as the shooter.
“The way the police broke that case was residents worked with them. You know who’s bad in the neighborhood. You don’t have to wait until something bad happens,” he said. “I ask everybody to stand up like the rest of the residents did, and work with the Police Department before something happens.”
Emanuel said he was amazed by the strength of Takiya’s mother, Naikeeia Williams.
“Ms. Williams showed an incredible generosity keeping her child alive so she can donate her organs to another person, as she just said, so somebody can live,” he said. “She is doing everything she can so she can donate her child’s organs for somebody else, and as she just said, ‘My baby won’t be around, but maybe this will help somebody else.’ I’m in awe of the generosity and Christianity of her heart.”
The mayor said state lawmakers and the criminal justice system should have the same motivation to hold repeat gun offenders accountable for gun violence, instead of letting them walk so often.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson also urged Springfield to enact more severe penalties for repeat gun offenders, saying criminals like Jones don’t fear the criminal justice system.
“They think the judicial system in Cook County is a joke. They just don’t fear it, and until we create that mental accountability to them to not pick up a gun, we’re going to continue to see this cycle of violence, and it’s just silly, it is. It’s silly on their part, but even more tragic is the leadership doesn’t listen. If you are in charge of these communities, and you have something to say, or you can do something to prevent this, and you don’t, then that’s a failure on you. Shame on you, because you should be,” Johnson said at a news conference to announce the charges against Jones.
The superintendent said Chicago police have made twice as many gun arrests so far this year as the same time last year, but it’s not making a difference in shootings, because those criminals know they won’t spend much time behind bars.
“The most dangerous thing a police officer can do on a daily basis is arrest a bad guy with a gun, and we’re doing that double what we did last year, and it still doesn’t seem to be a deterrent. Why? Because if I’m a gang member, and I pick up a gun and pull that trigger, if I know I’m going to be out in six months, that’s a baseball season. I can do that,” he said.
Jones has been ordered held without bail. Prosecutors said Jones was shooting at rival gang members Saturday night, but ended up shooting Takiya.
Takiya was in a van with her mother and other relatives near 65th and King around 7:40 p.m. Saturday, when they stopped at her mother’s workplace in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood, and bullets came flying through the window. A stray bullet struck Takiya in the head.
Area Central Detectives Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said investigators reviewed surveillance camera video of the shooting to identify people who were at the scene, and bring them in for questioning. Deenihan said those people identified Jones as the shooter, and he turned himself in Tuesday night.
Deenihan said Jones lives in the Parkway Gardens housing complex, and told police he spotted some people “who he felt did not belong in the area,” so he went to get a gun and shot at them, but hit Takiya instead, even though her family’s van had been there less than a minute, and was nowhere near the intended targets.
Johnson said Jones has been “known to CPD for a long time,” and has a lengthy arrest record, mostly as a juvenile.
Since Saturday, three children 12 years old or younger have been shot; two are dead and one is on life support.
About 30 minutes before Takiya was shot on Saturday, 12-year-old girl was shot in the head in West Englewood.
Kanari Gentry-Bowers was playing basketball with friends at the corner of 57th and Winchester, around 7:15 p.m. Saturday when a car pulled up and someone inside started shooting. Kanari was shot in the neck.
Kanari remained on life support Tuesday at Stroger Hospital. Her family also was struggling with the decision of whether to pull her off life support.
Hours after Takiya died on Tuesday, 2-year-old Lavontay White was shot and killed while riding in the back seat of the car with his pregnant 20-year-old aunt and her 26-year-old boyfriend, who also were shot.
The woman was shot in the stomach, but her injuries were not considered life-threatening. Her boyfriend was shot several times, and was pronounced dead at the scene.