November 27, 2015 / 1:51 PM / 3 years ago

Chicago police charge man in gang-related killing of nine-year-old

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A man has been arrested and charged in the gang-related murder of a 9-year-old boy who was lured from a park into an alley earlier this month and shot several times, Chicago Police said on Friday.

Corey Morgan, 27, is shown in this booking photo taken and provided by the Cook County Sheriff's Office in Chicago, Illinois, November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Cook County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters

The killing of Tyshawn Lee on Nov. 2 cast a spotlight on a jump in violent crime in the city of 2.7 million people, the third-largest in the United States.

Corey Morgan, 27, of Lansing, Illinois, has been charged with first-degree murder, police said. They said at least two others had also been involved. Morgan was denied bond on Friday, prosecutors said.

Police said they also have a warrant for a second suspect, Kevin Edwards, 22, of Chicago, and have in custody a third suspect being held on another charge.

Police said the crime was linked to a rivalry between Lee’s father, a suspected gang member, and another group, and was connected to at least two other murders. The boy’s father, Pierre Stokes, has denied being involved in a gang.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called Lee’s shooting “an act of barbarism” and said Morgan and the other suspects were all members of the same gang.

“That gang just signed its own death warrant,” McCarthy said. “We’re going to destroy this gang.”

Police said Lee had been playing basketball in a park when gang members approached him, engaged in conversation, and walked Lee into an alley, where he was assassinated.

Morgan had been arrested this month on a gun charge. Edwards is believed to be in the area, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said despite a high level of fear, police received “an awful lot of intelligence from the community,” unlike in other cases in which people have been unwilling to come forward.

As is the case in a number of other U.S. cities, violence has risen in Chicago. Authorities reported 411 murders from Jan. 1 to Nov. 15, up 14 percent from the same period of 2014. Some experts attributed the violence to the ready availability of guns or a growing heroin trade.

The arrest was announced on the same day that activists protested over the shooting death of a black teenager by a white Chicago patrolman in October 2014 that was filmed on a police dashboard camera. The video was not released until this week after the police officer was charged with murder.

Additional reporting by Laila Kearney and Jon Herskovitz; editing by Steve Orlofsky and Grant McCool

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