Murder charges filed in shooting death of 9-year-old Chicago boy

Jeremy Gorner and Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune
·1 min read

CHICAGO — Murder charges have been filed in the fatal shooting of 9-year-old Janari Ricks, who was killed last week while playing with friends behind the Cabrini-Green townhomes on the Near North Side.

Darrell Johnson, 39, a onetime resident of a now-demolished Cabrini-Green building not far from the shooting, is expected to appear in court Tuesday.

On Twitter Monday evening, his attorney Steven Greenberg said Johnson was “the wrong person to be charged” with the “unfortunate shooting.”

Janari was playing in the 900 block of North Cambridge Avenue when a gunman fired into a parking lot around 6:45 p.m. Friday, police said.

Police have said both the gunman and the intended target have connections to Cabrini-Green. Most of the public housing buildings there were systematically demolished, including the building that court records list as Johnson’s address up until recent years.

Johnson has a lengthy arrest record but relatively few convictions. His most serious cases date to 2005, when he pleaded guilty to attempted carjacking and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Janari was killed on the last day of Chicago’s most violent month in 28 years, with at least 107 people killed, according to data kept by the Chicago Tribune.

The number of shooting victims younger than 10 years old is three times what it was last year, according to Tribune data. Twenty-four children, 10 years old and younger, have been shot in Chicago as of the end of July — five fatally. The 2019 total during the same time period was eight.

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