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FBI offers $25K reward in murder of 14-year-old in Englewood

Vernado Jones Jr. was one of four people killed when gunmen opened fire on a Fourth of July gathering on the South Side.

Vernado Jones Jr.
Vernado Jones Jr.
Provided

The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the gunmen in an Englewood shooting that killed four people, including 14-year-old Vernado Jones Jr.

Vernado was shot in the back on Independence Day when four gunmen walked up to a gathering at 61st and Carpenter and opened fire, striking eight people, according to Chicago police.

He died shortly after the shooting, along with three other men.

Vernado was a skilled basketball player, even at 14, and was set to attend the perennial basketball powerhouse Simeon Career Academy, his family told reporters after his death.

“He was going to be our great basketball star,” his aunt, Nancy Wardlaw-Williams, said then. “I told him, ‘I’m waiting on my NBA tickets.’”

Vernado is one of several children who died in gun violence in the past month.

Fourteen children have been shot to death in Chicago since June 20, according to Sun-Times records. Four of the victims were 10 years old or younger.

Hours before Vernado’s murder on the Fourth of July, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace died after being shot while visiting her grandmother at a party in the Austin neighborhood.

On Monday, a 10-month-old baby girl was critically wounded by gunfire in the backseat of a car on I-94 at 115th Street.

Anyone with tips on Vernado’s murder is asked to call the FBI’s Chicago office at 312-421-6700 or visit tips.fbi.gov.