Days after his 9th birthday, Jeremiah Ellis and his 6-year-old brother were sitting on a blanket on the floor of their grandmother’s living room when bullets ripped through a window.
Their grandmother, who was sleeping on a couch a few feet away, was awakened by the noise, but she wasn’t sure if she heard gunshots or their noisy metal fan.
“I didn’t know what it was at first and the fan was shaking a bit,” Sentoria Williams Adams said Friday. She dropped to the ground and ran to Jeremiah and put her arm around her grandson.
“My arm was under him and I could feel blood running through my fingers,” Adams said. “I started yelling, ‘Call the police.'”
Jeremiah was taken to Evanston Hospital, where he died on arrival. Cook County prosecutors say he had been shot 11 times. His brother was shot in the foot and later released from the hospital.
Three people — Richard Banks, 22, Christian Anderson, 16, and Tamesha Clark, 32 — are each charged with first-degree murder in the May 14 shooting, which Skokie police described as a targeted attack. The three are also charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Banks, Anderson and Clark, all from Chicago, were each held without bail. Anderson is being charged as an adult.
Prosecutors allege the trio “calculated a plan to commit this shooting”, saying they repeatedly cloaked the residence and traveled together to the scene of the accident armed with multiple weapons.
At a news conference Friday, Skokie police did not say who the three were targeting, noting that several family members were in the house at the time. The police also do not want to say whether one or more suspects have fired.
Jeremiah was born 9 days early on May 11, but he wanted to go to his grandmother’s house that weekend to celebrate with her because she couldn’t come to his birthday party, Adams said.
“Earlier that day, I had a barbecue outside the house and we just hung out,” Adams said, adding that they had plans to visit the Skokie water park the next day.
Jeremiah was a “sweetheart” who loved basketball, loved being with his family and friends, Adams said. His favorite foods were seafood and cabbage.
“I’m glad we got justice, it’s his smile that brightens up the city,” said Cecil Tousant, Jeremiah’s father. “He loved Tik Tok, he just wanted to be a kid.”