A 15-year-old Chicago boy has been fatally shot as he delivered newspapers to earn the money he needed to buy a pair of Skullcandy headphones for his sister’s 12th birthday.
Authorities said Monday that the murder of Brian Jasso could have been a result of mistaken identity as he helped his mother’s boyfriend deliver the papers. This year, gun violence has claimed the lives 600 people in Chicago.
The chief of the bureau of organized crime, Anthony Riccio, said police are currently hunting for two male suspects – the driver of a white van that rammed the car driven by Brian Jasso’s stepfather plus another man who opened fire from the passenger window, striking the teen in the head.
More on the incident from Yahoo News:
“Riccio said witnesses of the shooting shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday told detectives that the stepfather was at a stop sign on the city’s Southwest Side when a white van appeared to accelerate and strike his car. Riccio said the van flashed its bright lights in an apparent signal to pull over. But the stepfather sensed something was wrong and when he drove away a passenger in the van opened fire with a handgun.
After a brief chase, the stepfather pulled into a parking lot, where he realized that Jasso had been shot in the head. Jasso, of Chicago, was pronounced dead at the scene.”
“I hope the person who did this sees this so they could know whose life they took,” Jasso’s mother, Carmen Manzano, 39, said in Spanish, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. “He was a person who had dreams, he was a person who wasn’t doing wrong like they are doing bad things on the street.”
“He didn’t have my blood but he was my best friend,” Manzano’s boyfriend, who has remained unnamed, said. “He was like my brother.”
“I just heard shot after shot,” he added, describing the incident. “I pulled him down when they broke the rear windows.” The man tried to shield young Jasso and pulled him down into the car. But for some reason, the boy popped back up again. At that point, a round struck him in the back of the head.
“I tried to protect him in that moment but I couldn’t,” he said. “I don’t know why he got up. We had made it, but he got up and that’s when they killed him.”
Many are portraying Chicago as a war zone. As the shooting occurred, police were investigating another incident just a mile away in which two men armed with high-powered rifles stood on the street and sprayed a passing car with rapid gunfire. The pair left dozens of shell casings behind and killed two known gang members, injuring another person in the car.
More than 120 people aged 15-years-old or younger have been shot in Chicago during this year alone. Within this demographic, there have been 22 recorded fatalities.
“I hope Chicago is tired of so much violence,” the boy’s stepfather said. “I’m fed up. Everywhere we see the dead. This looks like a graveyard, not a city. Everywhere you see crosses, balloons on any corner.”
This young boy appears to have been a completely innocent victim. “He was a 15-year-old boy, no run-ins with police, he’s never been arrested,” Riccio said of Jasso. “He’s a good kid, he’s out with his stepfather delivering papers to buy Christmas presents or birthday presents.”
The high rate of gun-related homicides across the city of Chicago has shocked the nation.
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin even flew to New York on Thursday to discuss what he described as a “quiet genocide” in Chicago’s black community with the U.N.’s assistant secretary-general for peacebuilding support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
“The United Nations has a track record of protecting minority populations,” Boykin said before his meeting, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
“There was tribal warfare between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Africa, and they deployed peacekeeping troops there to help save those populations and reduce the bloodshed. We have to do something — black people in Chicago make up 30 percent of the population but 80 percent of those who are killed by gun violence.”
President Trump has previously promised to “send in the Feds” if the levels of gun violence in the city fail to subside.
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
But Boykin believes the city requires a trained peacekeeping force. “The difference is, I’m not so sure that the National Guard is so used to peacekeeping and a peacekeeping role: The U.N. is trained in this,” he added.
He argued that something must be done, and fast, adding: “It’s been a total devastation of the African-American community.”
“What the hell is happening in Chicago?” Trump said in a recent speech at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia. “What the hell is happening there?”
“For the second year in a row, a person was shot in Chicago every three hours. You don’t think these people in this room can stop that? They’d stop that.”