Teen charged in Chatham triple murder

November 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Nicko Grayson, of the 7000-block of S. Perry Ave in Chicago, faces three counts of first degree murder. He was scheduled to appear in bond court Tuesday.

One of the three people killed in the weekend shooting was a mother who was picking up a birthday cake for her young daughter from the Piece of Cake Bakery on 87th Street and King Drive.

Before her death, friends and relatives of Chanda Thompson, 21, actively demonstrated against violence in their community. While they've been touched by violence before, the killing of the young mother on the day before her daughter's second birthday was very painful.

"We march to prevent stuff from happening like this, and when it happens to your loved one, it's like wow. It's a low blow," said Camiella Williams, a friend of the victim.

Despite their grief, Thompson's relatives went ahead with the birthday party they had planned for her toddler Sunday.

"When I was with her, she was smiling. She loved for family; they called her Smiley. It's such a tragedy that she was murdered and that she left behind a 2-year-old baby," Williams said.

Thompson and the two other victims, 21-year-olds Shawn Russell-- Thompson's boyfriend-- and Cortez Champion, were in a car at the time of the shooting. They pulled into a parking lot Saturday evening to pick up the cake, and a gunman opened fire after the victims put the cake in the backseat. The suspect fled in a waiting car.

"I was in the office getting ready to leave, waiting for my relief, and I just heard gunshots, like six of them -- pop pop pop pop pop pop-- back to back," witness Jennifer Lias told ABC7 Chicago.

The couple, Russell and Thompson, recently lived in a South Side apartment.

"They would come and go, you know, as usual. I think she worked every day. On the weekends, they would be gone most of the time," neighbor Chuck Gentry said. "They were very nice people as far as I know."

Monday morning, neighbors of Cortez Champion said he was well liked in the area. Walter Wilson told ABC7 Champion grew up with his son.

"He was a little boy then, and him and my son used to play basketball together. He was a nice kid," said Wilson.

Investigators say the gunman might have been targeting one of the two men in the car.

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