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Cops: Wounded gang member behind Chicago shooting

Cops: Wounded gang member behind Chicago shooting

September 25th, 2013 in News

Deonta Howard, 3, recovers from a gunshot wound Monday at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago. Howard was among 13 people shot Thursday at Cornell Square Park on Chicago's southwest side. Two men were charged Monday, Sept. 23 with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in the shooting.

CHICAGO (AP) - A Chicago man who was clipped in the leg by gunfire went looking for revenge, leading fellow gang members to a crowded park, where one of them unleashed more than a dozen bullets from an assault rifle in a shooting that wounded 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy, authorities say.

Thursday night's attack at a basketball court on Chicago's southwest side did injure several gang members. But the rapid spray of bullets also struck bystanders in a shooting that has again focused national attention on gang bloodshed in the nation's third-largest city.

Authorities announced Tuesday that four men have been charged, including the suspected primary shooter, a second man accused of firing a .22-caliber revolver, a lookout and the man prosecutors say supplied the assault rifle.

A judge denied bail for the group, who appeared lined up in court still wearing the street clothes they had on when they were arrested. Each is charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm, though additional charges were expected. A defense attorney said each of the four denied the charges, and one of their mothers cried in the second row of the gallery.

"There's a super-heated group of individuals who are involved in gun violence as both victims and offenders," police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a news conference. "And in this case we've got them both wrapped into one.

"This individual was a victim of gun violence and then became the offender," he said of the man authorities say was the central player in the shooting.

Bryon Champ and his co-defendants are members of the Blackstones gang, prosecutors said. After Champ was grazed by gunfire from a rival gang member, co-defendant Brad Jett, 22, went on a scouting mission to find members of the rival Gangster Disciples and spotted several of them in the Cornell Square Park, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office said.

A pickup basketball game was underway and the park was crowded with neighborhood residents out late enjoying one of the last warm nights of summer.

A third suspect, Kewane Gatewood, 20, who had kept the assault rifle under his bed for several months, deposited the weapon in a stash house where Champ then picked it up, officials said.

Twenty-two-year-old Tabari Young, a second gunman armed with a revolver, joined Jett and Champ, and the men drove to the park, tailed by another car meant to provide cover from police and rival gang members, prosecutors said.

With Jett serving as lookout in a gangway leading the park, the other two men got out on foot and opened fire, prosecutors say. At least 14 rounds were fired from the AK-47-style rifle, a weapon that authorities say has rarely been used in Chicago.

Authorities say Young has more than a dozen previous arrests and have described Champ as a felon and a documented gang member.

Champ, who was convicted in July 2012 of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, was previously sentenced to Cook County Jail's boot camp.