16-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were ordered held without bail Sunday after being charged with murder in the shooting death of Jovan Wilson, the grandson of U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.
Tariq M. Harris, 16, and Dijae T. Banks, 17, are charged as adults with first-degree murder in an attack that started as a fight over clothes and shoes, police and prosecutors said. The pair were taken into custody Saturday.
Harris, of the 8100 block of South Loomis Boulevard, and Banks, of the 12000 block of South Indiana Avenue, appeared before Cook County Judge James Brown wearing juvenile detention center sweatshirts and with their heads bowed.
Brown ordered both held with no bail in a scathing address.
“The murdering of a young boy over articles of clothing (and) gym shoes demonstrates a total callous disregard over the precious nature of human life,” Brown said. “The citizens of this city need to be protected from these defendants.”
Jovan, 15, was killed at his Englewood home around 7 p.m. Friday, police said. Some authorities spelled the victim’s name as Javon.
Jovan was at his home in the 5600 block of South Princeton Avenue with an uncle, a family friend, his 16-year-old sister, 14-year-old brother and 8-year-old brother when Harris and Banks arrived and knocked on the back door, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Bryan Grissman. The teen’s mother had left the home to pick up food.
Jovan and his 16-year-old sister went to the door and looked out, recognizing Harris and Banks as friends of the 14-year-old brother, Grissman said. Banks and the 14-year-old had been trading clothes for weeks prior to the shooting. Banks said she wanted to retrieve some shoes she had lent to the 14-year-old in exchange for a pair of pants, according to Grissman.
The 14-year-old brother did not want to return the shoes without first retrieving the pants he had lent to Banks, Grissman said. When the 14-year-old opened the door a crack to talk to Banks, Harris and Banks forced open the door and entered the home, Grissman said. Banks pulled out a handgun and began threatening Jovan’s sister with it, Grissman said.
Banks then handed the gun to Harris and began to fight with Jovan’s sister, Grissman said. As this altercation was going on, Harris repeatedly slid the safety mechanism on the gun back and forth, Grissman said. Jovan intervened to break up the fight between Banks and his sister.
Banks then punched Jovan in the face with a closed fist, and Jovan reciprocated by punching Banks, Grissman said. Banks became angry that Harris “was allowing the siblings to treat her this way,” Grissman said.
Harris took a step back, raised the gun and fired it once, Grissman said, striking Jovan in the neck. As Jovan fell to the ground, Harris and Banks fled the home through the back door, Grissman said.
Investigators initially believed the attack began as a home invasion but revised that once they learned the teens had a history with each other.
“This was not random but was egregious and senseless to use a gun over a fight for clothes,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Harris and Banks turned themselves in at the Deering District police station in the Bridgeport neighborhood, according to a police report.
At the time of the shooting, Banks was on probation for a robbery conviction. She has worked as a baby-sitter, according to police and prosecutors.
Harris’ mother, Marie Harris, 34, defended her son as “a good kid” in a brief Tribune interview Sunday, and said the truth about the killing was still untold.
When she met with Tariq at the police station Saturday evening, she said, he wept at the loss of his friend, Jovan, but offered few details about the events. “He just said, ‘Momma, I was there. I wish I wasn’t.’ He was like, ‘It wasn’t even my shoes.'”
Tariq had stopped attending classes at Curtis Elementary School in the eighth grade, his mother said, but “He was trying to find his way back. He was a young kid, as impressionable as any kid can be. He got in trouble before, but not to this extent. They put it all on him.”
Jovan, who loved sports and rap music, was a sophomore at Perspectives Charter High School in the South Loop neighborhood.
“He was a typical 15-year-old,” Davis said of his grandson. “He liked basketball. If you listened to him he was a basketball star, but he liked basketball and music. All those kinds of things. He was an avid sports fan, he knew all about, you know, the stats of different players.”
Davis had just returned to Chicago from Washington, D.C., and was in his office when his son Stacey Wilson, Jovan’s father, called him with news of the shooting.
He said he might never know if there was anything, such as better education, that could have prevented his grandson’s homicide.
“I do know that I grieve for my family,” Davis said at a news conference Friday. “I grieve for the young man who pulled the trigger. I grieve for his family, his parents, his friends, some of whom will never see him again.”
Source: Chicago Tribune