Murder Charge Filed in Slaying of 9-Year-Old Chicago Boy

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

The man accused of gunning down a 9-year-old boy in Cabrini-Green last week was “hunting” for a victim, Cook County prosecutors said, after he was seen on surveillance footage peering over fences in the area while “looking for somebody to shoot.”

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Darrell Johnson, 39, was ordered held without bail Tuesday, the same day he was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Janari Ricks, who was playing outside his home last Friday when he was shot twice.

According to prosecutors, Ricks and another boy were outside with eight to 10 others around the Cabrini Rowhouses at around 6:30 p.m. As Ricks shook hands with another man, multiple shots rang out from a nearby alley into the courtyard where they stood.

Video recovered by police shows Ricks turning to run from the shooter, but he is struck in the back and collapses face first onto the ground, according to the prosecutor’s bond proffer. He was transported to Lurie Children’s Hospital, but was pronounced dead at 6:59 p.m.

Multiple eyewitnesses positively identified Johnson as being in the area at the time of the shooting, prosecutors said, at least two of whom identified him as the shooter.

According to the proffer, Johnson can be seen on surveillance video walking through a nearby alley just before the shooting and stopping twice to look over fences into various courtyards, “as if he was searching for something or someone.” The third time he did this, Johnson allegedly stopped, removed “something from his person” and leaned in toward the fenced area. He is then seen limping from the area while holding his left side.

The proffer states that Johnson had previously been shot on the left side and does walk with a limp.

During a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy claimed Johnson “went hunting” as he looked through those various courtyards.

“According to the video, he’s walking down that alley looking for somebody to shoot,” Murphy said.

Other video recovered by police allegedly shows Johnson exiting a black Nissan Altima in the area just before the shooting and returning to that vehicle after the shooting. The proffer states that vehicle is registered to his girlfriend.

Police located Johnson on Sunday as he was about to enter that same vehicle and took him into custody.

Johnson is due back in court for a hearing on Aug. 24.

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson | (773) 509-5431 | [email protected] 

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