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Judge denies bail for man charged with shooting 5-year-old boy

Darrell E. Chambers  24 was charged with three counts attempted first-degree murder three counts aggravated battery with firearm connectiwith

Darrell E. Chambers, 24, was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with a shooting early Friday at Cooper Park,1331 W. 117th St., police said. | Chicago Police ph

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Updated: August 9, 2013 12:38PM

Bail was denied Sunday to a Chicago man accused of shooting a 5-year-old boy and two other friends at a South Side park early Friday in an apparent gang war.

Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. denied bail to Darrell E. Chambers, 24, agreeing with prosecutors that the accused shooter is a public safety risk.

“There are no conditions I can set to keep the community safe,” Bourgeois said.

The shooting came on a long Fourth of July weekend in Chicago that saw 65 people shot, with 10 victims killed.

Chambers, of the 11700 block of South Peoria Street, was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with the attack, Chicago Police said.

Appearing in court in a white T-shirt that bared his arm tattoos and represented by a public defender, Chambers did not speak during the brief hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse as Assistant State’s Attorney Jennifer Dillman laid out the allegations against him:

Chambers was the man and member of the “Ragtown Boys” faction of the Gangster Disciples, who, around 12:30 a.m. Friday morning, approached Cooper Park at 1331 W. 117th St., which Dillman called a known territory of the gang’s “Cooper Park” faction. As he walked toward the park on 117th Street, he kept firing rounds into it with a .40-caliber handgun, she said.

Five-year-old Jaden Donald, who was at the park with his mother and three siblings at a Fourth of July party watching fireworks, was shot in the abdomen and leg, she said. Police and the child’s mother say he has undergone several surgeries at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn since the shooting.

The second victim, Adonis Hewlett, 34, said another bullet struck him in the right wrist.

“It just knocked me back toward the wall and I fell, like diving on the ground, and laid there until the gunshots ended,” he said Sunday by telephone. “When the gunshots stopped, I got up and ran behind the fieldhouse.

“My wife ended up taking the 5-year-old and my other friend and me to the hospital,” he said.

Hewlett was quickly released from MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island. His best friend and third victim, Jesse Strong, was hit by a bullet in the left leg in and needed surgery at Christ to repair a shattered shin, he said, adding that Strong, 28, has since been released but will need therapy to walk again.

Hewlett said the friends, including Jaden’s mother, grew up in the Cooper Park area and returned to the park from around the city for an Independence Day celebration. The kids were burning up the last of the sparklers as parents packed to go home when dozens of shots rang out, Hewlett said. Six of the bullets, he said, ended up in his own car — thankfully not in another person.

His own three boys, ages 9, 11 and 13 — all there when the gunfire erupted — are traumatized from the shooting and don’t want to leave their house in the Chatham neighborhood.

“They don’t want to go outside anymore. They don’t want to live in the city of Chicago anymore. They’re sitting in the house, playing video games. They can’t even go swimming.”

Three eyewitnesses identified Chambers as the shooter, Dillman said.

Chambers has a previous weapons conviction from a December 2010 arrest in Chicago. Court records show that he served probation on that case. He has since, Dillman said, been in a video on YouTube that, as she put it, “espoused the virtues of gang membership.” A message left at his home was not returned.

“Who does this guy think he is?” wondered Hewlett, who said he’d never seen Chambers before but had heard of the feud between the gang factions. “All we really praying for now is little Jaden. It’s sad. It’s senseless.”

Contributing: Sam Charles

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