Man Sought In Killing Of Toddler Surrenders To Police


A suspect in the shooting death of a toddler on the South Side has surrendered to police, accompanied by the Rev. James Meeks and his mother.

Just before the two entered Area 2 headquarters around 3:15 p.m., Meeks told the Tribune, "I am in the process right now, I'm standing with officers literally as we speak."

Leaving the station 15 minutes later, Meeks said the man's mother called him at about 1 p.m. today. He said the woman was familiar with his work and sought him out to ensure her son was safe.

"She said that her son was accused of this heinous crime, the shooting of this baby girl,'' Meeks said.

Meeks said he called Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis, who arranged to have department brass meet him at the station.

The woman and her son met Meeks at the station, he said. "He seemed melancholy and he expressed his love to his mother."


Family and friends outside Comer Children's Hospital learn that 20-month-old Cynia Cole was pronounced dead. (William DeShazer/Tribune)



Later about a dozen angry family members of the toddler, Cynia Cole, arrived at the police station and walked inside to speak with police.

"They better lock him up,'' said a relative as he walked inside.

Police say the suspect -- who's 21 and has a record of guns and drugs -- apparently was aiming at the girl's father as he sat in a car with his three young daughters late Wednesday night in the 600 block of East 92nd Place.

The family says a hooded gunman darted from a gangway and fired at the car, hitting the 20-month-old in the head.

"Coco shot, Coco shot!" her sister, 4-year-old Janiya shouted.

The father, Jerome Hendricks, said he reached into the back, took the little girl out of her car seat and cradled her head in his left arm as he sped away to his home around the corner. Once there, his mother Cynthia Lyons, a nurse, applied pressure to the wound behind the girl's ear until an ambulance arrived and took her to Comer's Childrens Hospital.

Cynia's mother, Alberta Cole, said the gunman's hood fell back and she recognized him from the neighborhood. Hendricks told reporters the suspect had been wounded by a friend of Hendricks last month.

According to court records, Michael Wilson, 22, was arrested for shooting the man in the groin on March 7. Wilson lives on the block where Wednesday night's shooting occurred and, according to court records, has a gang tattoo on his upper right arm.

Coco's grandmother Cynthia Lyons said everyone knew Cynia was one of her favorite grandchildren. And it didn't matter.

"She has a little doll face," she said.

But not a little personality. "She thinks she's the big sister," Lyons said.

Coco would often bake cakes with her grandmother, and her favorite part was licking the bowl.

She loved watching Dora and the Disney Channel -- especially Hannah Montana. She would have turned 2 in August.

Lyons pleaded for people to come forward and cooperate with police.

"I would like for anybody who knows anything to please come forward. If anybody's at home and knows that their relative, their brother, cousin or anybody might have done something wrong and is running scared."

"Somebody has to pay for this," Lyons said. "A 2-year-old baby is no longer with us.

"This is like taking the heart out of me. They took my heart."

Neighbors said the violence in their Burnside community is getting out of control.

"I don't understand why this crime keeps going on in this neighborhood," Rhonda Cook, a neighbor, told WGN-Ch. 9. "I was coming out of my house (when the child was shot) and heard some shooting. I think it's ridiculous. I think they should put some cameras on this block. This is the third time on this block someone got killed."

"Around here it's just goofy gang banging," said another neighbor, Brian White. "Just ridiculous. I used to be one, but what's going on today it's way worse than when I was growing up. I don't want my son to even go to school around here. He's in pre-school.

"It's too crazy around here. It's retaliation. It's never going to stop. I know that. A little girl...that doesn't make any sense. I got a plan. I'm gonna put some fliers out here to stop the violence. I want to start a program so we can march around the neighborhood. I want my son to be able to walk to the park without worry about getting shot."


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