2 Traveling Vice Lords charged with murder of 50-year-old blind man in Lawndale

- Two members of the Traveling Vice Lords street gang have been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of a man Tuesday night in the Lawndale neighborhood.

Demarcus Washington, 22, and 31-year-old Dureya Lark were each denied bail by Judge John F. lyke Jr. at a hearing Friday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Washington, Lark and a third person drove a red Chevrolet Impala to the mouth of an alley near Roosevelt Road and Avers Avenue, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said.

Washington and Lark got out of the Impala and opened fire at a group of unarmed people standing nearby, Santini said. Johnny Shanklin, 50, who was blind and walking in the 3800 block of West Roosevelt Road with the assistance of a white cane, was struck in the back by one of the bullets.

Shanklin was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after, Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said. He lived two blocks from where the shooting occurred.

Washington and Lake returned to the Impala after the shooting and sped off, Santini said. Chicago Police tactical officers patrolling in the area heard the shots and were given a description on the shooters by witnesses at the scene. The officers drove east through the alley and onto Pulaski Road, where they spotted the red Impala.

The officer tried to stop the vehicle when it ran a red light at 15th Street and Pulaski, but the vehicle sped off and was pursued by the tactical officers, who were later joined by others, Santini said. Officers saw someone in the Impala toss a dark object from the driver’s side window in the 2100 block of South Pulaski and later recovered a 9mm handgun at the location.

The Impala continued to lead officers on a pursuit until it crashed at Cermak Road and St. Louis Avenue, Santini said. Lark and Washington were taken into custody, while the third person remained at large. Both were further connected to the shooting by their clothing, which matched what the shooters were recorded wearing on video surveillance, and their right hands tested positive for gunshot residue.

Police recovered 14 9mm shell casing at the scene, authorities said.

Both men have criminal histories involving guns, Santini said. Washington has previously been convicted of  unlawful use of a weapon, and Lake was paroled in 2011 after being sentenced to four years in prison on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

Washington, of the Little Village neighborhood, and Lark, who lives in West Englewood, were both scheduled to appear in court again May 4.

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