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Teen held without bond in murder of former CPS basketball star

Demetrius Tolliver lays in a shot for Farragut over Simeon’s Jabari Parker (11) in March 2011. Tolliver was killed in a shooting near a West Garfield Park elementary school. | Sun-Times file photo

A purported teenage gang member was ordered held without bond Tuesday for a deadly West Garfield Park shooting that claimed the life of former Chicago High School basketball superstar Demetrius “DJ” Tolliver and a 43-year-old woman.

Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas said at his “even at his ripe young age,” 17-year-old Hajuan Hentz is a “danger” to the community.

Hentz is being charged as an adult with murder. Prosecutors said Hentz, a member of the Traveling Vice Lords, was one of four armed people who stepped out of a stolen white van in the 4300 block of West Wilcox on the afternoon of March 31, and started firing, striking Tolliver and Dejenaba A. Altman.

A 16-year-old boy was also shot in the back during the incident, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said. That victim survived.

After the murders, Jabari Parker of the Milwaukee Bucks passed on his condolences to the family of his former high school basketball rival during a post-game interview.

Parker is a former Simeon standout. Tolliver starred at Farragut High and went on to play at Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois.

Demetrius “DJ” Tolliver / Facebook
Demetrius “DJ” Tolliver / Facebook

Several witnesses to the murders saw the gunmen fire at the three victims and others who were standing outside — just across the street from Hefferan Elementary School, authorities said.

One witness also made eye contact with Hentz while the teen was pulling the trigger, Santini said.

Tolliver, 23, was shot in the chest and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Cook County medical examiner’s office and police said.

Altman suffered a gunshot wound to the back and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where she was also pronounced dead, the medical examiner’s office said.

Hentz and the other shooters fled in the van afterward, leaving more than 20 shell casings; detectives determined those casings came from more than one gun, Santini said.

Dejenaba A. Altman / Facebook
Dejenaba A. Altman / Facebook

The rusty getaway vehicle was found abandoned with its steering column peeled several hours later in the 5000 block of West Jackson, Santini said.

Police learned the van had been was reported as stolen to Cicero police earlier that day, Santini said.

A shell casing found in the van matched some of the shell casings recovered from the scene and a fingerprint from inside the vehicle matched Hentz’s, Santini said.

Hentz was also identified by witnesses in a photo array, Santini said.

The teenager was arrested on Monday after he tried to run away from police in the first block of South Leamington and went into a nearby house.

Hentz, of the 3700 block of West 13th Street, lives with his mother and two brothers and attends Manley Career Academy High School, Assistant Public Defender Preston Jones said.