Indiana man murdered someone over a dice game, prosecutors say

Saalik Berberena | Chicago police

A feud over a dice game allegedly angered a man so much that he fatally shot someone at point-blank range this summer at a North Side housing project.

Jovante King responded to threatening texts about the days-old game by driving with his brother and a friend to the Lathrop Homes to defuse the argument, Cook County prosecutors said.

But when he arrived early July 11, Saalik Berberena was allegedly waiting with a gun.

Berberena, 32, came up to the car and pointed the gun against King’s head, prosecutors said. King tried several times to swat away the gun and defuse the situation, but Berberena allegedly fired once into King’s head.

King, 27, slumped over in his seat and told his brother, who asked, that he wouldn’t be able to get up, prosecutors said.

At that point, King’s brother grabbed a gun in the car and exited the car, prosecutors said. The brother and Berberena allegedly had a brief shootout, but didn’t strike each other, in the 2800 block of North Leavitt Street.

King was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he died later that day, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Berberena was arrested Friday on an unrelated warrant in suburban Crystal Lake, Chicago police said.

While participating in a line-up, Berberena allegedly fought with officers and yelled into a two-way mirror in an attempt to intimidate a witness, prosecutors said. Berberena allegedly pushed one officer to a ground and spat on three others.

Berberena lives in Los Angeles but was born in Cook County and has family Chicago, his attorney said.

While going over the allegations, Judge John F. Lyke Jr. said King had gone “to defuse some tensions regarding a stupid dice game — a stupid dice game.

“And I know some people say it’s not about the dice game, it’s about respect. That’s even more stupid,” he said. “This defendant, according to the state, runs up and puts and gun to his head and blows his brains out.”

Lyke ordered Berberena held without bail on charges of first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated battery to an officer.

Berberena is expected to appear in court again Nov. 9.