The reward offer is growing for information leading to the arrest of whoever shot a 9-year-old boy in Chicago Monday. Nine-year-old Tyshawn Lee was shot in the head and back while on his way to his grandmother’s home on the South Side. (Nov. 4)

CHICAGO — Police here are searching for the people responsible for luring a 9-year-old boy into an alley and executing him, an apparent retaliation hit that investigators believe was connected to the boy’s father’s gang ties.

A funeral will be held Tuesday for Tyshawn Lee, whose lifeless body was found riddled with bullets earlier this week in an alley on the city’s South Side. Nearby, police also found the basketball that Tyshawn carried everywhere.

The brutality of the killing reverberated in a city that has seen a surge of brutal gun violence. Chicago has recorded 421 homicides in 2015, more than any city in the U.S. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy characterized Tyshawn’s killing as perhaps the most brutal crime he’s seen in a long career that also included stints in leadership positions in New York and Newark.

“Tyshawn Lee was murdered in probably the most abhorrent, cowardly, unfathomable crime that I’ve witnessed in 35 years of policing,” McCarthy told reporters.

McCarthy said Tyshawn’s death was related to his father’s gang ties. He added that the killing was the most recent turn in a rise in gang violence on Chicago’s South Side that started around August.

Police say Tyshawn’s father, Pierre Stokes, has not cooperated with police investigators. Stokes told reporters on Thursday that he did not think his son’s killing was retaliation. He also says he’s answered every question police have asked him.

“No, I don’t think it was no retaliation because I never did nothing…for nobody to hurt my son,” Stokes told reporters following McCarthy’s comments, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Stokes appeared in court on Thursday on an unrelated felony gun charge. He was arrested in June 2014, while on parole for a 2011 armed robbery conviction, and charged with unlawful use of a weapon. He has pleaded not guilty to the gun charge.

Tyshawn’s killing came on the same day that 20-year-old Kaylan Pryor, an aspiring model, was gunned down as she stood outside her grandmother’s home in another South Side neighborhood just a few miles from where Tyshawn died.

Pryor had just left her grandmother’s home to catch a bus back to her house in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, when someone in a SUV pulled up and fired on her and a 15-year-old boy who was standing on the sidewalk. The boy was critically wounded and Pryor died at a nearby hospital.

Rev. Michael Pfleger, a prominent activist and pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church on the city’s South Side, called Tyshawn’s killing a “new low” for Chicago.

“There used to be some codes, some barriers, some lines that used to be drawn in the community, some things in the city that were not acceptable,” Pfleger said. “An execution of a baby took place on our watch in the city of Chicago. We must now put the code back. We got to draw the lines back.”

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