A pair of reputed gang members are facing murder charges nearly nine months after 12-year-old Nyzireya Moore was fatally shot while traveling home after celebrating her birthday in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.
Cook County prosecutors alleged Malik Parish, 22, Abdul Ali, 20, and a third unknown man were firing shots at rival gang members on the evening of March 1 when an errant bullet struck Moore as she sat inside her mother’s vehicle.
Parish and Ali have each been charged with first-degree murder and were ordered held without bail during a hearing Tuesday. Parish faces an additional charge of receiving or possessing a stolen vehicle, while Ali has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and criminal trespass to a vehicle.
“There’s not too much relief there with her,” Chicago activist Andrew Holmes, who spoke with Moore’s mother, said during a press conference Tuesday. “She just wants to thank the Chicago Police Department for getting them off the streets, stopping them from shooting somebody else.”
A third man, 21-year-old Darius Turner, was also arrested with Parish and Ali this week, but he is not alleged to have been involved in Moore’s death. He has been charged with being an armed habitual criminal and was also held without bail Tuesday.
According to prosecutors, Parish, Ali and a third man were together at a home in the 2300 block of West 72nd Street on the evening of March 1, when they went outside and began walking toward South Oakley Avenue.
Just minutes after they left, prosecutors said the men spotted a black Mercedes sedan they believed was being driven by rival gang members. Parish, Ali and the third man then each allegedly began shooting at that vehicle, firing more than two dozen shots.
One of those bullets allegedly struck Moore, who was traveling nearby seated in the back seat of her mother’s Buick SUV after celebrating her birthday. The girl was rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital in grave condition with a gunshot wound to the head. She died there on March 4.
The shooting was captured on surveillance video, prosecutors said.
Responding officers recovered 25 shell casings from the area which were connected to three separate firearms — two .40 caliber handguns and a 9mm handgun. The bullet that killed Moore has been sent to the Illinois State Police for testing, but results remain outstanding, prosecutors said.
Chicago police officials on Tuesday discussed the difficulties in identifying and arresting the suspects, saying they went months without leads after releasing surveillance footage that allegedly showed the men to the media.
That changed when an anonymous witness provided police with information, according to Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan.
“The pivotal point was an anonymous witness coming forward,” he said, adding that this information allowed investigators to “move forward and then build a stronger case.”
On Sunday, officers conducting surveillance related to Moore’s death, when they observed Parish, Ali, Turner and another man exit a stolen Ford Mustang and enter a home near West 104th Street and Perry Avenue, prosecutors said.
The men later left the home and went to get back into that vehicle, when police approached and attempted to place them under arrest.
Turner allegedly attempted to flee, but was captured after a foot pursuit. Officers recovered from him a 9mm handgun with an extended magazine, automatic switch and laser sight, prosecutors said. Ali also allegedly attempted to run, and pursuing officers saw him drop a handgun in a nearby gangway.
He too was arrested following a brief pursuit. Neither weapon recovered was connected to Moore’s death, prosecutors said.
Following his arrest, Ali allegedly admitted that he was at the scene of the March shooting and had fired shots toward the Mercedes.
The trio are due back in court on Dec. 19.