Maurice Harris faces four counts of first-degree murder. Police said he was taken into custody late Tuesday night, five days after he allegedly shot up Nadia Fish and Chicken at the corner of East 75th Street and South Coles Avenue.
However, Harris’ mother said Wednesday her son has an alibi. Tamika Harris said she has phone records to prove she was talking to her son at the time of the shooting. She said her son could not have been near the restaurant because he was at the coroner’s office, identifying his father, Jerry Jacobs. Police said they stand by their arrest.
Brendan Deenihan, commander of Area Central detectives, said Jacobs, 37, was fatally shot the day before the restaurant shooting, at 7909 S. Phillips. Jacobs was walking on the sidewalk about 11:15 p.m. when four males got out of a dark-colored van and shot him, police said at the time. Deenihan said “a reasonable person would believe” the two shootings were related.
“I think a reasonable motive would be that his father got killed and subsequently he shoots and kills these four people,” Deenihan said. “Does he do that randomly? Only he can answer that question. I wouldn’t suspect he just picked four random people on the street. That wouldn’t make sense to me.”
Harris has not given a confession and was arrested Tuesday near 127th and Western, said Deenihan, who added that several eyewitnesses told police Harris was the only shooter.
The shooting was part of an ongoing conflict between factions of the Gangster Disciples and Black P Stones gangs, Deenihan said. Prosecutors said Wednesday that Harris is a documented member of the No Limit faction of the Black P Stones. Deenihan said it was not known if any of the four killed at Nadia were involved in Jacobs’ death. Jacobs, he added, had been arrested 47 times, including twice in murder cases.
Emmanuel C. Stokes, 28, and Edwin Davis, 32, were fatally shot inside the restaurant.
Two other men, 19-year-old Raheem Jackson and his 20-year-old brother Dillon Jackson, ran from the restaurant as gunfire erupted, but both were fatally shot in different parking lots within a block of the restaurant, authorities said.
All four were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Stokes and the Jacksons lived in South Shore; Davis was a Brainerd neighborhood resident.
The superintendent said this is Harris’ first arrest as an adult, but he has encountered Chicago police before.
“While I can’t go into the specifics, into his extensive juvenile history, as we’ve seen too many times before here in Chicago, he is no stranger to CPD. Nor is he unfamiliar with using an illegal handgun,” Johnson said.
At a gathering called “Operation Wake Up” near the murder scene Tuesday night, Alderman Gregory Mitchell (7th Ward) joined police and community members to condemn violence plaguing the neighborhood.
“To date, as an adult, I’ve lost 36 of my childhood friends to this garbage and these streets. Thirty-six of them and another 17 in jail that I still talk to and they wish they hadn’t done that dumb stuff,” Mitchell said.
CPD Commander Darren Doss reminded the community he can only make the streets safe if people start talking.
“If you see something or you want to tell me something, call me. Call any officer. Sign up. It can be anonymous. We just need to know. We just need to take these streets and do what we need to do,” Doss said.
“I continue to call on our legislators, our community members and the families of those who contribute to the violence to work with us to get them on the right path before they act and to hold them accountable if they choose to pull a trigger,” Johnson said Wednesday.
The four men killed in the restaurant shooting were among seven people gunned down in three separate shootings within a mile of each other in less than two days last week.
Johnson said investigators are still working to determine whether the restaurant shooting was connected to a shooting that occurred later that night, where two people were killed.