Watch CBS News

Teen ordered held in custody in shooting that killed 7-year-old boy on Chicago's Near West Side

Teen charged with shooting, killing 7-year-old boy in Chicago appears in court
Teen charged with shooting, killing 7-year-old boy in Chicago appears in court 02:22

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 16-year-old boy was ordered detained Saturday in the shooting that killed 7-year-old Jai'mani Amir Rivera on the Near West Side this week.

Raysean Comer is charged as an adult in the Tuesday afternoon shooting that killed Jai'mani at the Oakley Square Apartments complex, in the 2300 block of West Jackson Boulevard.

In a proffer, Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Anne McCord Rogers said Jai'mani lived in a building at Oakley Square Apartments, and his mother had called him from work to ask him to take a cooking pot to a neighbor who lived in a building next door.

At 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jai'mani was captured on surveillance video walking through the lobby of the building where he lived and out the door with a pot in hand. Video then captured him walking back into his building with a blood spot forming on his white T-shirt, prosecutors said.

A witness in the lobby came to Jai'mani's aid as he slowly lost consciousness and fell to the floor, prosecutors said.

Jai'Mani Amir Rivera Legal Help Firm

Police were called and rushed to the scene, finding Jai'mani unconscious in the lobby of the building where he lived, prosecutors said. Police Supt. Larry Snelling noted at a news conference Tuesday that officers immediately began life-saving techniques and rushed Jai'mani to Stroger Hospital of Cook County in a squad car—but he died at the hospital.

A 911 caller said she was driving in her car nearby when she heard two gunshots, prosecutors said. She also saw what she described as a teenage boy with a rifle, firing westward toward Oakley Square Apartments.

"The defendant can be seen removing a rifle from his parents and firing the rifle multiple times," said McCord Rogers.

The witness said after finishing shooting, the shooter ran out of sight toward Van Buren Street, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, police received a separate tip that Comer was involved in the shooting—and indicated that he was hanging out a couple of blocks east on Jackson Boulevard, prosecutors said.

On the scene, police recovered about 13 .223-caliber shell casings in the rear parking lot of Crane Medical Prep High School—right across Oakley Boulevard from Oakley Square Apartments.  The school parking lot is about 300 feet away from, and a straight line of sight to, where Jai'mani was standing when he was shot, prosecutors said.

Surveillance cameras mounted on homes, buildings, and the school depicted the shooter—later determined to be Comer—before, during, and after the shooting, prosecutors said. A witness said he was wearing a mask over his face during the shooting, but one video showed him with his face exposed leaving a courtyard in the 2100 block of West Jackson Boulevard minutes before the shooting, prosecutors said.

He was then seen returning to the courtyard just afterward, prosecutors said.

Police issued a bulletin to officers seeking to identify the teen shooter. A Chicago Police officer who was acquainted with Comer saw the images and identified him—and two other officers also recognized him, prosecutors said.

The second pair of officers had arrested Comer on March 21, 2023, for criminal trespass to a vehicle, and had seen him hanging out in the 2100 block of West Jackson Boulevard, prosecutors said.

Attorneys said Comer was already wanted by police, after skipping a court date for two previous arrests—one for possessing a stolen car, and the other for aggravated battery.

Prosecutors said he had even cut off his ankle monitor less than two weeks before he allegedly fired the shots that killed Jai'mani.

Two witnesses were also located who knew Comer from his going to the grocery store where they work, prosecutors said. They also identified him, along with another witness who said she was playing cards with Comer and others after the shooting.

"During the card game, another person told [Comer] that he will have nightmares about what he did, referring to killing people," the proffer said. "In response, [Comer] said, 'I didn't mean to do that.'"

Comer's home address was found through his juvenile history report. He was arrested at his home on Thursday.

"Our family is numb," Jai'mani's aunt says

The Rivera family clings to the memory of their little boy.

"Right now, our family is numb. We lost, you know, our heart; our soul," Jai'mani's aunt, Vanessa Rivera, said outside the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse Saturday. "I treated him as one of my own. He was a very outgoing kid."

The family did not express any sympathy for Comer.

"I understand he's underage, but that don't matter," said Vanessa Rivera. "You took my baby's whole life away. My baby didn't get to live his life."

On Friday just before charges were announced in the case, Jai'mani's family and frustrated residents of the Oakley Square Apartments complex marched for peace. Jai'mani's mother was there in the car with a photo of her young son, but no words.

Speaking for the family Friday was Jai'mani's cousin, 10-year-old Joel Rivera.

"He had something to live for. He was only 7. He was just studying to sign a contract for football," Joel said, "but he was taken away."

The shooting that killed Jai'mani also came a little over a year after Nicole Watson, 44, was killed by a stray bullet through the fence at the same complex. Her then-13-year-old son, Jacob, was seriously wounded, but survived.

"My heart is broken like their heart is broken," said Nicole Watson's father, Paul Watson. "Neither one of us wanted to be in this crowd."

Comer is charged with first-degree murder as an adult. He is due back in Violence Court (Br. 66) in at the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.