CHICAGO – Family, police and community members are searching for answers after a young boy was killed in a shooting on the city’s South Side on Sunday night.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as 12-year-old Damien Green. His family said he loved sports, video games and watching videos on YouTube.
“He was well-loved. He was an A and B student, he did basketball, football, and wrestling,” said Deshanta Cowley, Damien’s mother.
Chicago police are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in connection to the shooting in Englewood. Sunday night, investigators issued a plea to the community to share any information on what may have led up to the shooting.
“I just want to find the person who did it, because come on, he was a baby; he was my baby,” Cowley said.
Loved ones, community members, violence prevention groups and police held a peace walk Monday afternoon near the site where the shooting took place. The group marched together, demanding a stop to the violence, and justice for Damien.
“People are sad, and people are angry,” President of the Englewood Political Task Force, Darryl Smith, said.
According to Chicago Police, officers responded to reports of shots fired in the 600 block of W. Marquette just after 6:30 Sunday night. Officers arrived on scene and began to search the area, eventually finding the boy with a gunshot wound to the head, unresponsive in the street.
“He was 12 years old. That’s all you need to know, and if that doesn’t outrage you, then shame on you,” said Smith.
Community activists said until an arrest is made and the person responsible is held accountable, healing is delayed.
“If this murder goes unsolved, then this family is going to live this over and over again, and that’s the sad part,” Smith said.
Smith also joined CPD on Sunday night at a press conference outside of Comer Children’s Hospital, where the child was pronounced dead after the shooting.
With few details on what led up to the shooting, police and activists are searching for any information that could help solve the crime.
“We want to find out what happened to this little baby and hopefully we can save some lives,” Smith said.
Green was killed only blocks away from Benjamin E. Mays Elementary Academy, where he was a student.
A spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools issued a statement on behalf of the district on Monday:
“We are devastated at the loss of another young life. The thoughts and condolences of the entire Chicago Public Schools (CPS) family are with all those impacted by this tragedy.”
Smith said the loss of the young boy will be felt across the entire community, especially among his classmates.
“His friends at school are going to think about him when he’s not on the playground with them, not at the lunch table with him,” Smith said.
Smith knows the grief the community is feeling firsthand. His daughter and nephew were murdered just months apart.
According to Smith, Green was found only steps away from Ryan Harris Memorial Park, which was named in honor of an 11-year-old girl who was murdered in 1998. Smith was part of a group that fought to name the park in her honor.
“Now we have to live this years later with a 12-year-old murdered on the same block,” Smith said.
Data from the Chicago Police Department shows 299 children under the age of 18 have been shot across the city since the start of the year. During the same period in 2022, there were 304 victims of shootings under the age of 18.
“It’s a staggering number. Especially if you think of it as – that’s a small school,” Pastor Donovan Price a street pastor with Solutions and Resources, said.
Price said more needs to be done to protect the city’s children and people need to stand up for children and families impacted by this violence.
“If we know it’s going to rain, we bring an umbrella. Well, it’s raining, and we need to bring an umbrella over our children,” Price said.
Currently, no arrests have been announced in connection to the deadly shooting, and Area One Detectives are investigating.
Family members have set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral costs.
Anyone with information on the deadly shooting can leave a tip for police by calling the homicide tip line at 833-408-0069. Tips can also be left online at CPDTip.com. Tips can be left anonymously.