Federal racketeering charges were announced Friday against four members of “a particularly violent” gang faction tied to nearly a dozen murders in Englewood.
At least 18 members of the Goonie Boss faction of the Gangster Disciples terrorized the South Side neighborhood, according to a federal indictment. Authorities said about half of them, including the gang’s leader, were responsible for the murders of 11 people between 2014 and 2016.
The gang faction was brazen to the point that they bragged about their crimes on Facebook Live, authorities said.
Romeo Blackman — also known as “O” and “O-Dog” — and eight of his associates of the Goonie Boss faction of the Gangster Disciples are linked to the 11 murders and a host of nonfatal shootings.
Blackman alone is accused of seven of those killings and five more attempted murders, U.S. Attorney John Lausch said.
“That’s staggering, and it’s unacceptable,” Lausch said at a press conference announcing the charges Friday afternoon at the CPD’s Englewood District station.
Blackman, 22, Terrance Smith, 22, and Jolicious Turman, 27, and 21-year-old Nathaniel McElroy are also accused of stealing weapons and keeping witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement — often with threats or violence.
All four men are in federal custody. A fifth — Christian Sivels — was ordered held without bail for his ties to one of the murders at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Thursday.
In May 2017, Blackman and two others were federally charged with conspiring to steal guns from a gun shop in Streator. Prosecutors say the three used a stolen Jeep to ram into the shop and steal 18 handguns, a rifle and a shotgun.
Nine other reputed Goonie Boss members are already facing federal weapons charges.
Tawana Bennett, the cousin of murder victim Kenneth Whittaker, 34, also attended Friday’s press conference and wore a button with Whittaker’s photo and nickname — “Loso” — on her jacket.
She said the family was “floored” when they got news that Turman, Whittaker’s alleged killer, was taken into custody.
She added that, after Whittaker was killed on July 1, 2016, members of Goonie Boss bragged about the murder on social media.
“It’s been two years since they killed him [as he was] coming home from work, so we’re just happy,” she said. “We just wanted justice and we’re finally at peace [because] we know that his killer is being locked up.”
Bennett — who moved out of Chicago after her cousin’s murder — added that Whittaker’s two sons and daughter “are still having problems” since their father’s death, but “our family is just happy to say that justice has been served. That’s all we can do, is continue to pray for our family.”
The federal indictment also outlines the attempted murder and racketeering charges:
• Members of Goonie Boss are accused of killing Gerald Bumper, 19, on June 30, 2016.
• Turman is accused of killing Ramal Hicks, 34, on June 20, 2016, outside a store in the 1500 block of West 69th Street.
In August 2017, Cook County prosecutors charged Lamarr Isaac in Hicks’ killing. He remains held in the county jail on $1 million bail.
• Blackman and McElroy are accused of killing Gerald Sias, 38, on May 26, 2016, inside a barber shop in the 1100 block of West 63rd Street.
Another man, Trevante Reed, appeared in Cook County bond court Friday on charges that he fatally shot Sias.
Reed was already in jail on a reckless homicide charge for crashing a stolen minivan into a sport-utility vehicle in Englewood in December 2015, killing a 37-year-old woman and injuring 12 others.
• Blackman is accused of killing Davon Horace, 19, on Jan. 15, 2016, in the 7200 block of South May Street.
• Blackman is accused of killing Andre Donner, 26, on Dec. 13, 2015, in the 7200 block of South May Street. Cook County prosecutors brought murder charges against Demarco Bennett, 22, in connection with Donner’s death last year. He’s being held without bail.
• Blackman and Smith are accused of killing Krystal Jackson, 25, on Nov. 19, 2014, in the 6800 block of South Loomis Boulevard.
• Blackman and Smith are accused of killing Stanley Bobo, 18, on Oct. 23, 2014, in the 1400 block of West 72nd Street.
Kwonte Hughes, 21, previously was charged in that murder by Cook County prosecutors in December 2014 and is being held in the county jail without bail.
• Blackman is accused of killing Williams, 24, on March 21, 2014, in the 1200 block of West 70th Street.
• Blackman is accused of killing Johnathon Johnson, 21, on Jan. 22, 2014, in the 6900 block of South Racine Avenue.
Sivels is accused of shooting 26-year-old David Easley while Easley was walking in the 7000 block of South Carpenter Street on May 21, 2016.
Easely, of Evergreen Park, was in the neighborhood delivering a pair of shoes to his daughter when he was shot, according to authorities.
Cook County prosecutors said they believe Easley was mistaken for a member of the Cash Money Boys gang, which was feuding with the Goonie Gang.
After the shooting, Sivels allegedly said, “I f—ed him up,” in reference to shooting Easley.
Law enforcement officials didn’t disclose the motivation for the 11 murders. The indictment against Blackman, Smith, Turman and McElroy says the goals of the Goonie Boss faction were “acquiring, preserving and protecting power, territory, operations and proceeds for the enterprise through the use of threats, intimidation and violence.”
Federal prosecutors say that the gang initiated new members by beating them and “encouraging them to shoot at rival gang members.”
Authorities dubbed the investigation into the Goonie Boss faction as “Operation Lucky Seven.” The Englewood District, where the racketeering charges were announced, is the CPD’s Seventh District.
The Goonie Boss case comes as the U.S. Attorney’s Office is working to prosecute 11 members of the Four Corner Hustlers, who authorities say were responsible for six murders and a host of nonfatal shooting, robberies and drug dealing on the West Side for the last 20 years.
Asked Friday if utilizing the RICO Act is the future of fighting gangs in Chicago, CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said, “I think it is. They’re organized crime. If you don’t think gangs in city of Chicago [are] organized, then you’re fooling yourself. I think that is a valuable tool that we plan on using as much as we can to bring these individuals to justice.”