The block of tall trees and modest homes was quiet Monday evening as 8-year-old Demetrius Stevenson played in the front yard — as he often did since his family moved to Markham less than a year ago.
Across the street, two people hid behind a fence planning an ambush, according to police and neighbors. They had come from Chicago to settle a gang dispute with a man standing in the boy’s yard.
One of them, in a white hoodie, peeked around the fence and backed away, according to surveillance video. The other man, in a black hoodie, stepped up and fired six .45-caliber shots.
He missed his target and hit Demetrius in the head, killing him.
The sound of gunfire brought Demetrius’s mother running downstairs. “When I looked down, I saw my baby’s head hanging in that door and I screamed,” said LaTonya Stevenson, 43.
She grabbed a sweatshirt and placed it over her child’s wound. “And then I ran away because I couldn’t take it no more,” she said, crying.
Her older son grabbed Demetrius and placed him in a car to get him to a hospital, but he had already stopped breathing. “When they made it around the block, my baby died,” Stevenson said.
“He shot my baby in the head — my 8-year-old baby,” she said. “Why would you do that? Why?”
A neighbor in the 15700 block of Homan said he saw someone in a black mask shooting from the fence along his home. Then, from across the street, he saw Stevenson at the doorway screaming.
“That’s too bad, a small child like that,” the neighbor said.
Several neighbors said they saw the older son place the wounded boy in a car and drive off, only to return minutes later and lay him in the middle of the street.
By then, paramedics had arrived but Demetrius was pronounced dead at the scene.
The neighbors spoke the day after the shooting. Bullet holes could be seen in the front of the home near the door, where there was a pool of dried blood. Gauze and a medical bandage wrapper lay in the front lawn.
Demetrius’ mother said the attackers had followed a friend of her older son to the home and were aiming at that man. She said Markham officials were wrong to say her older son was the target.
“The news and Markham city police are lying about my son,” she said. “He was not the target. They’re trying to say my baby is in a gang. My baby ain’t in no gang.”
The older son was taken into custody after the shooting on a separate warrant, according to city administrator Derrick Champion. Officials reported no one in custody for the attack.
Demetrius was in the third grade and was looking forward to the new school year, Champion noted “The school year just started and now classmates have to mourn,” he said.
Markham has recorded three other homicides this year, according to data from the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Last year, the town reported eight homicides.