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Cops: Feuding clans may be to blame

6/16/09  JustMurray.   Family Provided Photo

6/16/09 Justin Murray. Family Provided Photo

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Updated: January 7, 2013 7:07AM

EVANSTON — Police are investigating whether the shooting of a 19-year-old Evanston youth was related to an ongoing feud between families, which boiled over at the Skokie courthouse last week.

Justin M. Murray, a resident of 1930 Grey Ave., was shot to death shortly after 6:15 p.m. Nov. 29.

His blood-spattered body was found lying on the parkway of 1818 Brown Ave., where his grandmother lives.

Murray was shot twice at the time of the incident, and police say two offenders were seen peering from a nearby gangway when the shots were fired.

Investigators say Murray was in the company of several other individuals at the time, and the incident is not believed to be random.

The shooting occurred as a court case was wrapping up in Skokie. Anthony Bamberg, Jr., 28, was cleared of first degree murder charges in the 2010 death of 23-year-old Marcus Davis. Davis was gunned down while backing a car out from Smitty’s Garage in the 1400 block of Dodge Avenue.

At the trial, prosecutors and defense attorneys acknowledged bad blood between the Bamberg and Davis families.

Family members reportedly had several physical run-ins and threats of reprisal were hurled during the trial outside the courtroom, leading the court to add extra security.

Police are looking into whether the bad blood was a factor in the Murray shooting because of the proximity of the shooting site to where family members have collected.

Police are aware of “serious issues’’ between the families running up to the pretrial hearings six months ago and then carrying through the trial, said Police Chief Richard Eddington. Those issues involved confrontations and some physical run-ins.

The chief described the group differences as involving “two extended families that hate each other over multiple generations,” and questions among the families about where loyalties lie.

“This is an interpersonal dispute that has taken place over years and has escalated to homicides that both sides feel the other is responsible for,’’ he said, calling the dispute “the Evanston version of the Hatfields and the McCoys.”

Murray, who had been living in San Diego, had been in town roughly four hours when he was struck down.

His mother, Carolyn, 43, who has been a leader in community activities to address violent crime issues, said her son wasn’t on the scene when “particular things” happened, suggesting he was an unintended victim.

She said Brown, once a stable block when she was growing up, has evolved “into an unsupervised magnet of troubled teens.”

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