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Cops closing in on killer of aspiring model

Aspiring model Kaylyn Pryor, 20, was killed in a drive-by shooting Monday evening in Englewood. | Matt Ferguson photo

Detectives have “strong leads” in the fatal shooting of aspiring model Kaylyn Pryor and have received new information in the killing of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee, a police spokesman said Friday.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s impassioned news conference Thursday about Tyshawn’s slaying prompted “a lot more community intelligence” about that case, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

Tyshawn and Pryor were both killed Monday on the South Side. Their tragic deaths drew national attention, especially the next day when filmmaker Spike Lee released a trailer for “Chiraq,” his film about Chicago gun violence.

Pryor, 20, recently won a modeling contest. She was killed at 6:20 p.m. in the 7300 block of South May in Englewood after leaving her grandmother’s house to go home to Evanston. She was not the intended target, police said. A 15-year-old boy with her was wounded.

Tyshawn, a fourth-grader at Joplin Elementary, was walking to his grandmother’s home at 4:15 p.m. on Monday when he was lured into an alley in the 8000 block of South Damen and shot, police said.

At a news conference Thursday, McCarthy said police have suspects in Tyshawn’s killing but need more information to press charges.

Tyshawn’s father, Pierre Stokes, was not cooperating with detectives, McCarthy said, adding that police were “examining whatever his role is” in retaliatory gang shootings over the past four months, which led to Tyshawn’s death.

Stokes denies he is a gang member or that he did anything to prompt his son’s murder.

Residents of the neighborhood where Tyshawn was killed expressed weariness with the violence.

“One of the things that made me angry was that there was no immediate outrage — there was too much resignation,” says Robert Brown, who lives about two blocks away from the site of the killing. He says there is gunfire in the surrounding area almost every day.

“The violence is ever present. You go about your business with your head on a swivel if you’re smart — not that you’re a target, but you could be a victim of something indiscriminate.”

Brown works as a correctional officer at Cook County jail, where inmates were also weighing in.

“The guys in the jail express some level of contempt about Tyshawn being murdered, but they add that there’s a war going on, as if that explains it.”

Gangs have been active for years in the neighborhood, but now they play by different rules, said Yvonne Newsome, the community policing facilitator for beat 611, which includes the area of the shooting.

“You didn’t have this fighting within the [factions of] gangs,” said Newsome, who has lived in Auburn Gresham for 43 years. “It’s black-on-black crime and I don’t understand it.”

“It’s obvious that there’s a gang war,” said Daisy Ryan, who lives about three blocks away and has been in the neighborhood about 40 years.

“Going out and getting each other was one thing, but getting family members is a no-no. And what upsets me is that if it was a policeman who shot him, there would have been an uproar, but because it was black-on-black, people are scared to come out,” Ryan said.

“But I have never experienced the helicopter flying over us constantly, the shootings, and now the kids can’t even go to the park. We’ve had crime before but now it’s just out of control,” she said.