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Man charged in Chicago triple shooting that killed 2 year old toddler

February 19, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Man charged in Chicago triple shooting that killed 2 year old toddler

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As he fought back his emotions, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson on Saturday revealed a murder charge in the Valentine’s Day shooting of 2-year-old Lavontay White Jr. and summoned a city shaken by several child deaths to “finally make a stand.”

Johnson pledged that his police force will track down all involved in the three shootings that took the lives of Lavontay and his 26-year-old uncle, Lazarec Collins, and injured Collins’ pregnant girlfriend on Tuesday–a horrific crime that was recorded on Facebook live.

The first suspect arrested for the shooting, Devon Swan, 26, was refused bail on a first-degree murder charge just after Johnson described him as a gang member and felon with a history of gun and narcotics offenses, CBS News reported.

An angered Johnson emphasized his call for more stringent laws against repeat gun criminals.

“Lavontay wasn’t someone who made bad decisions and lost his way or got involved in a gang conflict,” Johnson said. “He was just a boy with his whole life ahead of him.”

Documented gang n member Devon Swan was charged with the Valentines day triple murder

Standing next to Johnson at Chicago police headquarters was Rev. Michael Pfleger, who praised those who came to him with details that helped lead to Swan’s apprehension.

“Your faith has to be greater than fear,” Pfleger, a Chicago civil rights advocate and senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, stated.

Swan made incriminating comments to witnesses and later to investigators after his arrest, but the case is far from finished.

“This is a very active, ongoing investigation,” Brendan Deenihan, the commander of the central detective division, stated. “We’re looking for more people who are responsible.”

Swan told authorities the motivation for the incident was because “they were seeking revenge for a prior incident,” according to Deenihan. But he noted that the precise reasons have yet to be determined because other people have come forward with “different motives.”

The two-year-old’s shooting death was captured on a Facebook Live video

At a bail hearing on Saturday, prosecutors said Swan dropped off his girlfriend an hour before the incident and then picked up three more people. The two passengers in the back seat were both armed.

At one point, the Chevrolet Spark pulled along side the victims’ car and opened fire. Collins’ girlfriend got out of the vehicle and fled, and the gunmen continued to shoot into the car.

Surveillance video captured the Spark circling the area and leaving after the shooting. Bystanders also saw a person running toward the car with a gun and entering before the attack.

Prosecutors added that Swan made third party confessions to multiple witnesses about his involvement in the killings.

Cook County court records indicate that since 2009, Swan has had convictions for robbery, narcotics, and gun charges. He was previously sentenced to 18 months behind bars and was given time served for a charge of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

Lavontay was one of three kids fatally shot in the violent city over the past week – a particularly somber period after one of the deadliest and bloodiest years in decades.

“Last week we lost three innocent lives to gun violence,” Johnson said. “I’m sure every Chicagoan is tired of seeing this occur (in) our neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city.

“Even before those incidents occurred, we lost too many people regardless of age and background because of offenders who are willing to pull a trigger over drugs and conflicts.”

Johnson’s words mimicked those of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has expressed hope last week that the city could reach a “turning point” with the deaths of Lavontay and two more children who were victims of crossfire in shootings: 12-year-old Kanari Gentry Bowers while playing with friends and 11-year-old Takiya Holmes while in a car with family.

“Let their lives and death be a reminder of how we need to come together to reduce the violence in these neighborhoods,” Johnson said, adding that their names should be spoken out loud to legislators considering tougher gun laws. “If we remember those names and what they represent, we can come together to make a stand and not let their lives be lost in vain.”

All three deaths occurred after a particularly dark year in Chicago where over 760 were murdered, mostly by gun violence. The city and police have faced a torrent of criticism for their apparent inability to stop the bloodshed, including from President Trump, who has threatened to “send in the Feds” if the city can’t halt the murder and violence.

The Valentine’s Day killings of Lavontay and his uncle were recorded on Facebook Live as the uncle’s girlfriend streamed footage of the three riding in a car. According to the video, as the car pulled into an alley, several gunshots are heard. The woman jumped out of the car with her phone and fled to a house to beg for help.

Collins’ girlfriend, who was four months along pregnant, was shot in the abdomen.

Both his girlfriend and the unborn child survived the incident.

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