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Shooting that killed 9-year-old boy, wounded 6-year-old brother in Skokie was act of "revenge" against grandparents, prosecutors say

Investigators say Skokie killing was revenge for expressway shooting
Investigators say Skokie killing was revenge for expressway shooting 02:53

SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) -- A third suspect has been charged in a shooting that left a 9-year-old boy dead and his little brother wounded in Skokie, in an attack prosecutors say was an act of "revenge" against the victims' grandparents over a fatal expressway shooting last summer.

Tamesha Clark, 32, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated battery in the May 14 shooting that killed 9-year-old Jeremiah Ellis and wounded his 6-year-old brother. She was ordered held without bond on Friday.

Jeremiah was a student at Herzl Elementary School on the West Side of Chicago, according to his grandmother, Sentoria Williams Adams. 

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Jeremiah Ellis (left) was shot and killed while watching TV at his grandmother's house in Skokie, just days after his 9th birthday. Police and prosecutors say the shooting was an act of revenge against his grandparents over a fatal expressway shooting last summer. Supplied Photo

Jeremiah's father, Cecil Tousant, said he loved spending time with his grandmother, who he called "nanny."

"He wanted to be with his nanny so much," he said. "It's his smile that bright up the city. He loved TikTok. He just wanted to be a kid."

Two other suspects – 22-year-old Richard Banks and 16-year-old Christian Anderson – were brought up on the same charges Thursday. Despite his age, Anderson is charged as an adult. Both are being held without bail.

Police have not said whether all three defendants fired shots, but all three are facing murder charges.  

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Tamesha Clark, Richard Banks, and Christian Anderson (left to right) are charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated battery in a shooting that left a 9-year-old boy dead and his 6-year-old brother wounded in Skokie on May 14, 2022. Police and prosecutors say the shooting was a planned act of revenge against the boys' grandparents, after Clark's boyfriend was killed in an expressway shooting in August 2021. Skokie Police

Tousant said the family is glad to get justice now that three people have been charged in the case.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Clark, Banks, and Anderson targeted the home because Clark was angry at the boys' grandparents after her boyfriend was killed in an expressway shooting in August 2021, and "wanted to seek revenge for her boyfriend's death."

Police were tipped off about a Snapchat story Clark had posted, stating "hoe, Ill smoke u and yo kids....yeah bitch I said yo kids," according to a court filing by Cook County prosecutors.

Jeremiah's uncle, Stanley Jones, said his cousin, 25-year-old Ralph Banks, was killed in a shooting on the Eisenhower Expressway last August.

Jones said the shooting that killed his nephew ""hit our family real hard, and hit us close to home."

Investigators say Skokie shooting was revenge for expressway shooting 02:06

"It's a tragedy that the girlfriend of my beloved little cousin, Ralph Banks, would orchestrate an act of violence against his family, something we as a family know he wouldn't have approved of," he said.

Jones and Adams said Clark had been threatening the family since Ralph Banks' death, but didn't report them to police.

"Being so close to home, you don't take it as though it would really be played out, so we trusted God for everything else," Jones said.

Adams said Ralph Banks and his mother and brother previously lived with her for 10 years, and said it didn't make any sense for his girlfriend to blame their family for the shooting.

"It's no way in hell I would allow someone to tell me that they did something to him, and not say anything to anyone, or let anyone know that someone's trying to hurt him," she said. "They've been putting threats on our life for an incident that did not involve us at all. Ralph Banks, I loved truly. I raised him in my home."

On the night of May 13, Jeremiah and his brother were staying overnight Adams' home in Skokie to celebrate Jeremiah's 9th birthday, which had been two days earlier.

Meantime, Anderson, Richard Banks, and Clark spent more than an hour casing the grandparents' home that night, and then shortly after midnight on May 14, Anderson and Banks "fired a hailstorm of bullets into the television room" of the home as Jeremiah and his brother were laying on a blanket on the floor, watching TV as their grandmother slept on a nearby couch, according to prosecutors.

A total of 35 shots were fired into the home through a ground floor window, striking both boys as they were on the floor.

Adams said, after she woke up and realized Jeremiah had been shot, she rushed to his side, and tucked her arm under him, and could feel his blood dripping through her fingers.

"I started yelling, 'Call the police! Call the police!'" she said. "I relive it every day since then."

Jeremiah suffered 11 gunshot wounds, and was taken to Evanston Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His 6-year-old brother was shot in the foot, and suffered broken toes and bones.

Evidence technicians recovered 20 9mm bullet cartridges and 15 .40-caliber shell casings from the gangway outside the home. The blanket the boys were lying on had eight bullet holes, and multiple bullet holes were found on the floor of the television room.

"To know that someone would come and shoot my home up with my family in there, and considering the peoples that did that, I'm always barbecuing, I'm always cooking, I always have my grandkids over. They knew that we was in that house as a family," Adams said.

Adams said she and her husband didn't go to Jeremiah's birthday party two days before the shooting, because she was worried someone was going to shoot her husband. So instead, they had their grandchildren over to their house on May 13 for a barbecue to celebrate Jeremiah's birthday, and planned to go to a Skokie water park the next day.

"He a sweetheart. He loves coming over to his nanny's house. He loves for me to cook. He just loved being with us, and I loved having him over any chance I got," she said.

Police declined to speculate on exactly why Clark might have blamed Jeremiah's family for her boyfriends' death.

According to prosecutors, cell phone data showed Banks, Anderson, and Clark first went to the victims' home around 6:10 p.m. on May 13, and spent about 20 minutes in the area, before going their separate ways, and returning to the victims' home around 10:30 p.m. 

The Nissan Altima they were driving was caught on camera circling the block that night, before pulling into an alley, where they stayed for more than an hour before Banks and Anderson started shooting shortly after midnight.

At the time of the shooting, Anderson was on probation, after he was sentenced in late March to 30 days of home confinement and 18 months' probation for an armed robbery conviction.

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