Chicago rapper Bang Da Hitta charged with murder in Uptown shooting, denied bail

SHARE Chicago rapper Bang Da Hitta charged with murder in Uptown shooting, denied bail
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Cook County’s Leighton Criminal Court building. | Sun-Times files

A Chicago rapper accused of gunning down a man last year in the Uptown neighborhood was denied bail at a hearing Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Keith Hayer, 27, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Deshawn Johnson on Nov. 13, 2017, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Hayer, a rapper who performs under the name “Bang Da Hitta,” recently signed a management deal with Wild End Entertainment and had moved to the South Side to live with his grandmother and get away from his old life, defense attorney Kevin Stark said.

“We were really surprised when he was charged with this,” Sterk said after the hearing.

About 6 p.m. the night of the shooting, Hayer, a member of the Insane Cutthroat Gangsters, was alerted that members of the Almighty Black P-Stones had gone live on Facebook, Assistant States Attorney Jennifer McCarty said.

Hayer and a group of ICG gang members went to the 1200 block of West Leland where Johnson was standing on the sidewalk and began shooting, McCarty said.

DeShawn Johnson | Facebook

DeShawn Johnson | Facebook

When Johnson fell to the ground, Hayer walked closer and continued to fire, McCarty said. Johnson was shot nine times, including to his chest, neck and hip.

He was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:40 p.m., authorities said.

Hayer and another unknown shooter ran off when other P-Stone gang members returned fire, McCarty said. Hayer was shot in the hip as he fled and dropped his cellphone, which was recovered at the scene by investigators.

In a tweet Thursday morning, Town Hall District officers praised investigators for making an arrest in the shooting “after breaking through the ‘don’t snitch’ culture.”

Prosecutors said Hayer has been convicted of 14 misdemeanors since 2009, including aggravated assault of a police officer and manufacture and/or delivery of marijuana. He was on probation at the time of the shooting and has failed to appear in court several times, leading to warrants being issued for his arrest.

Hayer has previously been the target of gang violence, Sterk said, adding that if Hayer was involved in the shooting, it may have been self defense.

Keith Hayer | Chicago Police

Keith Hayer | Chicago Police

In addition, he is expecting a child with his longtime girlfriend, had been working as a barber and was visiting his probation officer Tuesday at the Bridgeview Courthouse when he was taken into custody, according to Sterk and police records.

“He’s trying to do everything he can to be a contributing member of society,” Sterk said.

Judge John F. Lyke Jr. and said the shooting sounded like something out of the Wild West.

“At 6 in the evening,” Lyke said shaking his head. “That’s just madness.”

Lyke ordered Hayer held without bail ahead of his next court date, which was scheduled for Tuesday.

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