Malik Causey, the 14-year-old boy gunned down outside of his Austin home early Sunday morning, was no angel.
He was a 14-year-old growing up in a neighborhood where guns have become a part of urban gear, like sneakers and pajama bottoms.
More than likely, another teenager pulled the trigger as Malik stood on the corner of North Avenue and Luna before dawn.
“The blood and brains are still on the ground,” said Malik’s distraught grandmother, Nicole “Coco” Davis, on Monday.
Malik’s death marks a new low for Chicago’s street violence.
When the dead boy’s friends held a candlelight vigil near the spot where Malik fell, gunfire broke out again, wounding an 8-year-old girl and a 36-year-old woman.
“In the 1980s, there was a War on Drugs. Now there has to be a War on Guns. Police are going to have to pull over these young men in these cars with tinted windows, Davis said.
“Police ride right past, instead of pulling over these guys with these big shirts where they are hiding guns. They need to kick in some of these doors. The guns are right here under your nose. How do you get the guns off the street,” she asked rhetorically.
“You ride around and stop these guys.”
But communities such as Austin, which has posted the highest number of gun fatalities so far this year, are caught in what’s become a bloody standoff between the Chicago Police Department and the department’s critics.
It started last year, first with Mayor Rahm Emanuel blaming the surge in violent crimes on police officers becoming “fetal” because of high-profile incidents.
Then came the release of video that showed police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times.
The police-involved shooting led to rare criminal charges against Van Dyke and forced the ouster of then Supt. Garry McCarthy. Last week, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson called for the firing of seven police officers who allegedly covered up what happened that night.
Additionally, the American Civil Liberties Union found the department’s “stop and frisk” policing is disproportionately concentrated in the black community, and that African Americans were subjected to 72 percent of all stops.
Davis is no stranger to the criminal justice system.
She was once involved in the drug trade and spent 14 years in federal prison to pay for it. Since leaving prison, she has tried to save her grandson from making similar mistakes.
“It has been rough. I have run him down and tried to get him off the street. My daughter let him loose, but he is 14-years-old. You don’t let him loose,” she said.
Davis said people know who is doing the killing, but won’t say anything because they are afraid.
“To stop it, we’ve got to tell it,” she said.
Her understanding of the events leading up to the shooting sounds like typical kids stuff, except today some kids are armed like soldiers.
“When I got a call that Malik got into it with the little boys across the street, I went looking for him and made him get in the car. He jumped out the car and tried to run and I chased him across the street. I took him to my house,” she said.
Her grandson got up and went back out.
“I got up, and the back door was open and I was right back in the street trying to find him,” she said.
This time Davis wasn’t around to wrestle her grandson from the streets.
“Growing up, we would fight with people on the next block and the next day we would be friends. Now they got guns. This is senseless murder,” she said.
“This is a 14-year-old boy we are talking about and nobody has been arrested. Malik didn’t get a chance to live and that is so sad.”