Shooting suspect's mother says "I am sorry"

August 13, 2010 (CHICAGO)

"I am the mother of one of the alleged suspects, and I am sorry this happened," she said.

In an exclusive interview with ABC7, the mother of the young man who was allegedly involved in the shooting said she wants to send a message to others in her South Side Roseland community to stop the violence.

"If my son had anything to with this, I will make sure that my son pays the price that he should, because it's wrong to take a life," said the mother.

Steshawn Brisco, 17, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the shooting Tuesday evening that killed Tanaja Stokes, 8, and critically injured her cousin, 7-year-old Ariana Jones.

The two girls were jumping rope near 107th and Indiana when two people rode by on bicycles and at least one began firing.

A bullet struck and killed Stokes, and Jones was hit in the head.

Police described the shooting as gang-related.

Brisco's mother said her family is receiving death threats because of her son's possible actions.

"Yes, I am afraid for my life that my son, the alleged suspect, put me and my family in this situation," she said.

She says her heart aches for the family of the two young girls.

"I hate it that those two girls, those two innocent girls, didn't have a life," she said. "I feel for their mother, just like if it was mine."

Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said the girls were caught in gang crossfire, and that tips from the community helped lead to Brisco's arrest.

"We had great community cooperation, and I think it shows the difference that can be made when we do get cooperation as opposed to those where we receive only silence," said Weis.

While many parents defend their children unconditionally, this mother admits her son has a long history of problems stemming back to when he was about 11 years old.

"Trying to sell drugs, trying to be out there with the big boys, trying to be a gangbanger, and I was trying to explain to him that none of those things are good for him," she said. "The only thing that I can do is leave him in God's hands."

Police are still looking for one other person who may have been involved in the shooting. Brisco's mother says she believes that person is one of her son's close friends.

Brisco is due in court Saturday.

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