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Four held without bail in South Side park shooting that hurt 13

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Updated: September 24, 2013 11:31PM

Kewane Gatewood wanted revenge, and he knew what he needed to pull it off — the assault rifle hidden under his bed, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A friend had been wounded hours earlier by gang rivals, so the AK-47-style rifle was put to use Thursday night, police said, indiscriminately spraying bullets into a South Side park and wounding 13.

Gatewood, 20, and three other men charged in the attack were ordered held without bond Tuesday.

Tabari Young and Brad Jett, both 22 and Bryon “Lord” Champ, 21 were also charged.

The four learned some of their rivals were at Cornell Square Park near 51st and Wood around 10 p.m. Thursday, and gunfire erupted shortly after, prosecutors said.

One of the bullets struck three-year-old Deonta “Tay-man” Howard in the face, leaving a hole in his cheek that will require a series of surgeries until the boy is 13.

“I don’t want to go back to that park,” the child said, according to his mother, Shamarah Leggett. Leggett was in the park watching her son play basketball when the gunfire exploded.

“I’m just seeing bodies dropping left and right, left and right,” Leggett, 24, recalled Tuesday night outside the West Side hospital where her son is still recovering.

Cook County assistant state’s attorney John Dillon on Tuesday implored Cook County Judge Donald Panarese to keep the men in jail: “Thirteen people were shot. By the grace of God, none of them died.”

Each of the Chicago men face three counts of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

The shooting allegedly was revenge for a graze wound Champ suffered several hours earlier in the 5200 block of South Paulina after a quarrel with gang rivals, prosecutors said.

The investigation continues, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday. “It’s not even close to being finished.”

Police have said some of the victims in the park were members of the Gangster Disciples street gang and the shooters were suspected of being affiliated with the Black P Stones.

After Champ was shot, he allegedly asked Gatewood to retrieve the AK-47-style assault rifle that Gatewood had been hiding under his bed for months, prosecutors said.

Jett and another man who was not charged scouted the area for rival gang members, prosecutors said. The four men then drove to the park, and a second car provided cover from police and rival gang members, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Champ and Young used the assault rifle and a .22-caliber revolver to fire into the park.

Champ works as a janitor, Young as a busboy and Jett as a stocker at Home Depot, prosecutors said, adding that Gatewood attends culinary school.

Champ’s criminal record includes a 2012 conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and a 2011 conviction for receiving stolen property. He was sentenced to Cook County Jail boot camp for the gun-possession conviction and had received probation in the other case, records show.

In the 2012 case, police had responded to a report of someone being shot and saw Champ running through a gangway with a gun in his hand, according to court records. When police arrested Champ a short while later, he was carrying a .40-caliber semi-automatic gun loaded with 10 rounds and one in the chamber, records show.

On Monday, McCarthy pointed to the case to highlight the need for stricter gun laws that would have put Champ in prison.

“If Bryon Champ is not on the street — as he shouldn’t have been — this incident likely does not occur,” McCarthy said Tuesday.

Contributing: Jon Seidel, Francine Knowles

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