'Let me grieve,' father says after boy, 7, shot to death in Humboldt Park

ByABC7 Team Coverage WLS logo
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Boy, 7, fatally shot over holiday weekend
Amari Brown, 7, was killed by a bullet intended for his father, police say.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The family of a child who was shot to death over the weekend accuses Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy of using bullying tactics. Amari Brown, 7, was killed by a bullet intended for his father, police say.

WATCH: CPD says victim's father not cooperating, father says 'give me time'

Supt. Garry McCarthy also said the boy's father, Antonio Brown, is not cooperating in his son's murder investigation.

"Just let me grieve. Nobody knows what I got going on. Nobody understands my pain. Let me grieve," Antonio Brown said.

Amari was killed by a drive-by shooter at 11:55 p.m. Saturday in the 1100-block of North Harding Avenue in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He and Malerie Britton, 26, were both shot in the chest. She remembered her final words with Amari.

"I was asking Amari, 'I haven't seen you in a long time. You're getting big.' He like, 'That's because my birthday keep coming up so fast.' And then, next thing you know, it's a bunch of shooting going on," Britton said. "I realized I was hit twice. And I looked down, and that baby was lying right there on the floor hit."

Britton was wounded, but no vital organs were hit. Police said neither victim was the intended target.

Investigators said the gunman was aiming for the boy's father, who was identified by Supt. McCarthy as a documented gang member with 45 arrests. McCarthy let go with frustration that Brown, who did prison time for narcotics was arrested with a gun in April and was released on bond the next day.

"If Mr. Brown is in custody, his son is alive. That's not the case. Quite frankly, he shouldn't have been on the street," McCarthy said.

"The idea that you're taking a 7-year old out at midnight, you have a responsibility to that child, and then to cooperate with the police department on a crime committed to that 7-year old," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who visited with the Brown family on Monday, said.

"You know what information I got? It was a thousand [expletive)] out here. You all want information? Go ask every [expletive)] on this block what happened. Why do I got to do that?" Brown said.

"It ain't about Antonio Brown. It's not about Antonio Brown. We're talking about Amari Brown. That's who we're talking about," Angela Bankston, Antonio Brown's cousin, said.

Members of the Brown family say the focus needs to be on finding the boy's killer. His lawyer agrees.

"He made comments immediately alleging that my client was not being cooperative. That couldn't be further from the truth," attorney David Gaeger said.

"We're going to seek justice. We're going to find out who did it. We are going to find out the right way instead of pointing the finger," Brown said.

Directly across the street from where Amari was gunned down, there is a Chicago Police Department pod camera that may have a clean view of the drive-by. Police would only comment that the pod camera was operational and that they are reviewing the video and other nearby surveillance cameras.

Community leaders are also offering a reward for information.

"I know some way or another that somebody will come forward," the Rev. Ira Acree, Greater St. John Bible Church, said.

While no one is in custody, Chicago police said they are following several leads in the murder.

Nine people, including Amari, were killed and at least 53 people were injured in Chicago shootings over the long weekend between Thursday late afternoon and Sunday.

"At some point, we have to make a decision in the city that this type of violence stops. Until that happens, all of you all will back here next week on another corner filming the same thing with somebody else saying exactly the same thing I'm saying," Michael Singleton, victim's cousin, said.