CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Dawes Park will long be remembered as the last place 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee ever played, on the swings, before he was lured into the nearby alley and executed.
Police say the suspects, all part of the same gang, were out for retaliation for a previous murder of one of their own. Now, Chicago’s top cop has put that gang on notice.
“They're going to be obliterated, that gang just signed its own death warrant,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “We're going to go and destroy that gang now, and by the way, the rival gang too.”
The strong words resonated in the neighborhood, but perhaps not the way the superintendent may have wanted.
“You're only making the problem worse by talking about obliterating,” said Alvin Agee, who lives near the alley where Tyshawn was murdered.
Others thought McCarthy’s comments were ill-timed in light of the recently released video of an officer shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
“I don't think it is an easy solution to anything, I don't, and I think those were poorly chosen words at a time where the police are already under scrutiny for excessive force,” said Shareen McClure.
Others in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood wondered why it took the murder of a nine year old to get this kind of police response to gang feuds.
“Personally I feel it's something that should have been taken care of a long time ago. I don't think that the amount of people that have been shot and killed in Chicago should have even gotten to where it is now,” said Shanetta Hampton.
Superintendent McCarthy says detectives have been working around the clock to solve this case. Now residents here worry if his threat to destroy two gangs will actually solve the problem or just move it.
“When they started tearing down public housing and made all State Street vacant lots that moved the gangs from there out to here and that created a problem in our neighborhood. He's just gonna move it to another neighborhood or to the suburbs or something,” Agee said.
The concern was that if McCarthy’s words were not more than tough talk, the gang problem would remain.