2 charged in Back of the Yards shooting that injured 13

September 23, 2013 (CHICAGO)

UPDATE: 4 suspects now charged in Back of the Yards park shooting

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez Monday night charged Bryon Champ, 21, of Chicago and Kewane Gatewood, 20, of Chicago with three counts each of attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.

Police say both men are known gang members, and Champ was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon last year. He did not go to prison, but instead served a brief stint in boot camp at the Cook County Jail.

A family member of the Deonta Howard, the three-year-old injured in the shooting, commented on the charges Monday night.

"As long as justice is served, and they got the right guys, we'll sleep a bit better," said Curtis Harris, Howard relative.

Defendants Champ and Gatewood are scheduled to be in Central Bond Court Tuesday morning in the Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California.

The Thursday night attack, that authorities tell the I-Team was in retaliation for a previous gang shooting a few weeks earlier, resulted in worldwide headlines that depicted Chicago street violence as out-of-control.

Police sources say one of the men was the actual shooter who opened fire on a crowd watching a basketball game in Cornell Square Park, on the city's South Side. He used a military-style assault rifle, according to investigators. The other man who arrested was a "participant" in the crime and in the getaway, authorities said.

The charges were eventually filed Monday night after detectives spent the day "interviewing several people of interest" a police spokesman said earlier in the day. Sources familiar with the investigation said there was initially great reluctance on the part of neighborhood residents to cooperate with authorities.

The youngest victim of the mass shooting, 3-year-old Deonta Howard, is walking, talking and eating according to his aunt. The Thursday night attack kicked off a bloody weekend in Chicago. The wave of violence between Friday night and Sunday night left three dead and 23 wounded.

While at a police graduation ceremony earlier on Monday, Supt. Garry McCarthy refused to comment on published reports that two people were in custody in connection with a shooting that injured 13.

"When we are ready to announce we have somebody in custody, we'll do that. We can jeopardize the entire investigation by prematurely putting out information. So that's not the case, I'm not gonna comment on it. The investigation is ongoing and proceeding," Supt. McCarthy said. He spoke at a police graduation ceremony at Navy Pier. The Chicago Police Department welcomed 125 graduates to the force.

New crime numbers show violence is down, but recent shootings have put the national spotlight on Chicago. According to the Chicago Police Department, murders are down 20 percent, shootings are down 22 percent and overall crime is down 15 percent.

A coalition of ministers and community organizers say they united over the weekend with dozens of volunteers to assist the investigation into last week's mass shooting in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

The executive director of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council says while shootings are down in the neighborhood overall, they need more opportunities for young people.

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