CeaseFire helps with surrender of teen

July 12, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The man's lawyer and mother say he had nothing to do with the crime but turned himself in to clear his name.

The girls were shot on the far South Side Tuesday night in the 1300-block of W. 117th Street.

Police continue to question Jermaine Lewis, 18, Thursday night. He turned himself in to the CeaseFire organization. They say that word on the street is that he is responsible for the shooting of the two girls. They also say that he turned himself in to protect himself from possible street justice.

His attorney says Lewis is here to prove his innocence. With police apparently closing in on him as a person of interest in Tuesday's shooting of two girls in the Roseland community, Lewis sought out CeaseFire to help him surrender safely.

"This is an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. We are here to clear up any misconceptions pertaining to Mr. Jermaine Lewis," said attorney Carl Boyd. "My son did not do this. I know my son did not do this. My son is not like this. My son is a caring individual, a God-fearing young man," said Michelle Palm, the suspect's mother.

Witnesses, however, claim they saw Lewis firing shots. Asked if she had any doubt it was Lewis, witness Jasmine McCullum said: "I know it was him, but I didn't believe that he would do something like that."

Lewis lives in the neighborhood near the victims. One of them, Tishona Polk, Thursday night said she is recovering well but wants to see the gunman caught.

"Jermaine, if you did shoot me, if you would just serve your time, whatever time they give you, just serve your time in jail," said Polk.

"I'm very happy that Jermaine has turned himself in, because it's the right thing to do," said Mildred Shorter, Polk's mother.

This marks the first time CeaseFire, which just signed a million-dollar contract to work with the police department, has helped arrange the surrender of a suspect. They say in this case, they are helping to prevent further violence.

"We just wanted to make sure there was no retaliation on this young man's life today," said Bob Jackson of Roseland CeaseFire.

The second victim, a 12-year-old girl, was shot twice in the abdomen. She was initially hospitalized in serious condition, but by 10 p.m. Thursday evening, she had been upgraded to stable condition.

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