Tyshawn Lee was “lured” into the Chicago alleyway where he was found shot to death on Monday, authorities confirm to PEOPLE.
The 9-year-old was targeted because of his father’s alleged gang ties, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a press conference Thursday. “Tyshawn Lee was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing,” he said.
McCarthy said Tyshawn was walking to his grandmother’s home on Monday when he was lured into the alleyway and shot repeatedly. “We’re pretty certain that this is not an accident,” McCarthy added. “He was not a bystander.”
Tyshawn’s father, identified as Pierre Stokes, is not cooperating with police. When investigators tried to speak to Stokes, he allegedly responded with words “you can’t say … on TV,” McCarthy said.
“I don’t think he’s a witness to it, so I’m not sure how he could help us,” McCarthy said. “But I could tell you this: I’m a father, many of us here are fathers. My reaction would be a little bit different.”
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Stokes told The Chicago Tribune earlier this week that he’s frustrated with police for focusing on him and not on finding his son’s killer. “They’re more worried about me. Why are you worried about me, not the killer?” Stokes said. “I’m not the killer. Worry about the killer.” Stokes denies any involvement in a gang.
Authorities are offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Tyshawn’s death.