Wis. man charged with killing 4 relatives in Ill.

Police say four first-degree murder charges were filed Thursday against 32-year-old James Larry. Larry also is charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of intentional homicide of an unborn child.

April 16, 2010 12:28:11 PM PDT
Chicago police say authorities have filed murder charges against a Madison, Wis., man accused of the shooting deaths of four of his relatives on Chicago's Southwest Side.

Officer Darryl Beatty of the Chicago Police News Affairs office says four charges of first-degree murder were filed Thursday evening against 32-year-old James Larry. Larry is also charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, four counts of attempted first-degree murder, and two felony counts of intentional homicide of an unborn child.

A 7-month-old boy, Jahod Larry; a 3-year-old girl, Keleasha Larry; and 16-year-old girl Keyshai Fields were killed, according to a police source. The teen, who was pregnant, was a student at Chicago's Robeson High School. The fourth fatality is 19-year-old Tawanda Thompson, who is believed to be the wife of the suspect, according to investigators.

Two survivors - the suspect's mother and a 13-year-old nephew - remained in the hospital a day after the attack at 72nd and Mozart, fighting critical injuries.

Autopsies for the four victims were scheduled for Thursday.

The suspected shooter allegedly killed four of his family members early Wednesday morning in a Marquette Park bungalow.

"I can't judge him. Only God can. So there is nothing I can tell him. We will still pray for you," said Ella Smith, relative of the victims.

Police found the suspect's pregnant wife and their 7-month-old son in the same bed, both shot in the head. Also killed were the suspect's 3-year-old and 16-year-old nieces. The teenager was four months pregnant. Paramedics rushed the suspect's 13-year-old nephew and mother to the hospital, both now struggling to recover.

The alleged gunman's sister, Keshia Larry, spent most of Wednesday at Christ Hospital. Relatives said her two daughters were killed. Her 13-year-old son, Demond, and her mother, Leona Larry, were in the hospital.

"My mom is hanging in there. I've cried as much as I could cry. I haven't seen my babies yet and I know I'm not done crying. I can only bury them," said Larry.

Relatives say the 33-year-old suspect recently converted to Islam while in prison, and they often saw him reading the Koran. A source told the Sun-Times the suspect told police, "Too bad I ran out of bullets."

The suspect lived in Madison, Wisconsin, and has a criminal record dating back to 1995. About an hour and a half after the shooting, police arrested him near 59th and Racine.

Family members said the suspect simply snapped.

"He was reading a book and he said it told him he must kill someone," said Letisha Larry, suspect's sister.

Family and friends have created a memorial on the stairs of the crime scene with balloons and stuffed animals.

"It's crazy. I've been here for 17, going on 18 years this year, and I've never seen anything like this happen before," said Brittany Murphy, a family friend placing another memento on the memorial.

Mourners transformed the home Wednesday night into a memorial site. The Southwest Side bungalow was a gathering place for loved ones to grieve, sign cards and drop off mementos.

"I don't understand why my nephew did this because he was quiet. He never talked to nobody. He never talked to nobody, but he would talk about the Muslim," said Catherine Mason, suspect's aunt.

Keyshai's classmates from Robeson, friends and family members rushed to the crime scene Wednesday morning in tears, as they realized loved ones had been shot to death in their own home.

"She was nice and caring. She ain't like violent. She didn't fight and argue. She was the peacemaker out of the whole crowd," said Corissa Wright, friend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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