Grief And Outrage After 9-Year-Old Janari Ricks Was Shot And Killed Outside Cabrini Rowhouses

A family is outraged after a 9-year-old boy was shot dead Friday night while playing outside in the Cabrini rowhouses.

Police said the gunman opened fire on a group of people behind the townhomes on Cambridge Avenue – the last occupied section of the Cabrini-Green public housing development – when 9-year-old Janari Ricks was struck.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Saturday, this now makes at least 16 children under the age of 10 in Chicago since mid-June.

Cabrini-Green once stretched from Evergreen Avenue on the north to Chicago Avenue on the south, and from the Chicago Transit Authority Brown-Purple Line tracks on the east to Halsted Street on the west.

(Credit: Jalisa Ford)

It was also one of the most infamous housing projects in the country, drawing decades of headlines from the 1970 sniper shooting that killed two police officers to then-Mayor Jane Byrne’s controversial temporary move into the development to draw attention to the violence there in 1981. In 1992, Cabrini-Green drew national headlines for the murder of 7-year-old Dantrell Davis by a sniper perched atop a high-rise on Cleveland Avenue – an incident that also sparked a gang truce.

Since the late 1990s, Cabrini-Green has gone through massive transformation to shed that reputation – while also spurring complaints about gentrification. All the high-rises and mid-rises came down between 1995 and 2011, with new developments such as a Target store and luxury apartment buildings standing in the stead of some, and empty fields where others once stood.

All that is left now is the oldest part of the development, the Cabrini Rowhouses that date from the 1940s. Even among the rowhouses, only 137 units remain occupied while 450 units are fenced off and boarded up.

His heartbroken mother said her son would be going into the fourth grade this fall. She said he loved basketball and math, and should not have been a victim.

Police said community tips led to the arrest of the gunman in this case. Someone who has a connection to Cabrini Green, but no longer lives there. Charges are pending and expected to be announced soon.

At least 37 children have been killed so far this year.

During a press conference Monday, Chicago police said this past weekend was the least violent in the month of July.

However, July was the most violent Chicago has seen since 1992.