2 charged with murder of girl struck by stray bullet while celebrating 12th birthday

Nyzireya Moore was riding in a car with her family in March when a group began shooting at another car in the 2300 block of West 72nd Street, about a block from where she lived.

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Two men have been charged with the fatal shooting of Nyzireya Moore, 12.

Two men have been charged with the fatal shooting of Nyzireya Moore, 12.

Provided

Two men were accused Tuesday of opening fire at a gang rival last spring on the South Side and killing a 12-year-old girl as she was returning home from celebrating her birthday with family.

Nyzireya Moore was riding in her family’s Buick SUV on the evening of March 1 when Abdul Ali, 20, Malik Parish, 22, and a third person began firing at a Mercedes sedan from the corner of 72nd Street and Oakley Avenue, Cook County prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

A stray bullet hit Nyzireya in the head. She was rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital, where she died three days later.

Nyzireya is among at least 33 children 15 and younger who have been killed in Chicago this year. As many as 25 of those murders remain unsolved, though just last week arrests were made in the death of 7-year-old Akeem Briscoe, struck by a stray bullet in his Humboldt Park home.

In the moments before Nyzireya was killed, surveillance footage shows three gunmen leaving a house in the 2300 block of West 72nd and walking to the corner, where they saw a rival gang member drive by in the Mercedes, prosecutors said.

The three waited about two minutes and allegedly began shooting at the car as it drove north.

Nyzireya’s mother was driving the Buick and was about a block from home when she heard gunshots and glass shattering, then realized her daughter had been shot, authorities said.

An image from surveillance video released by police earlier this year in a shooting that killed 12-year-old Nyzireya Moore on her birthday.

An image from surveillance video released by police earlier this year in a shooting that killed 12-year-old Nyzireya Moore on her birthday.

Chicago police

Investigators recovered 25 shell casing from three different weapons — a 9 mm handgun and two .40-caliber pistols, prosecutors said.

Two people who saw the shooting couldn’t identify the shooters, who were all wearing hooded sweatshirts. But two other witnesses were able to identify Parish from images taken from surveillance recordings, prosecutors said.

At a news conference Tuesday, Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said a break in the case came when an anonymous witness came forward, calling it “a pivotal point” in the investigation. 

Ali and Parish were taken into custody Sunday when they were seen returning to a stolen Ford Mustang parked near 104th Street and Perry Avenue, prosecutors said. Both ran from the car but were taken into custody after a foot chase.

During the chase, officers saw an extended magazine protruding from Ali’s front waistband and later recovered a 9mm Glock handgun equipped with a laser sight and automatic switch along the path he used to try to escape, prosecutors said.

Parish was allegedly found with a key fob for the Ford in his pocket.

Prosecutors charged Ali with first-degree murder and possession of an automatic weapon. Parish faces charges of first-degree murder and possession of a stolen vehicle.

A third man arrested with Ali and Parish on Sunday, 22-year-old Darius Turner, was seen throwing a handgun with an automatic switch before he was taken into custody, prosecutors said. He was charged with a felony count of armed habitual criminal.

Neither of the guns recovered were used in the March 1 shooting, prosecutors said, citing preliminary tests.

Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered all three held without bail during Tuesday’s hearing.

Community activist Andrew Holmes, who has worked with the family, said they were grateful for the arrests but added “there’s not too much relief there.”

Police Supt. David Brown used Tuesday’s news conference to once again criticize judges and prosecutors, whom he claimed are too lenient in allowing violent criminals to be released from custody.

“These are violent people and their criminal history has shown them to be violent,” Brown said. “We need to throw the book at these people.”

But court records show neither man charged in Nyzireya’s killing has convictions for serious violent offenses.

Parish was sentenced to two years of probation earlier this month for spitting in a person’s face in August, according to records. And he was sentenced to probation last year on a felony charge of possessing a stolen vehicle.

Parish was charged in September with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly showing a gun in his waistband and threatening a man he was arguing with. But no weapon was recovered by police when he was arrested and the charge was dropped on Monday.

Ali has no convictions but is facing a separate case for allegedly possessing a gun with a defaced serial number and not having a firearm owners identification card. That case was filed nearly three months after Nyzireya was killed, records show.

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