A Four Corner Hustlers street gang member who was known by the nickname “Lil’ Boss” and once toured with rapper Chief Keef has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role in the gang, including an August 2012 shooting that nearly killed a 15-year-old girl.
Prosecutors said Rontrell Turnipseed, 28, of Chicago, obtained his nickname “because he was the heir apparent and had exhibited the bona fides” to one day become a gang leader.
Turnipseed’s lawyer Michael Schmiege argued last month that Turnipseed joined the Four Corner Hustlers only after a violent childhood, which included a shooting when Turnipseed was 15 that led to the death of his best friend.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin handed Turnipseed the 10-year sentence Monday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Turnipseed pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in August 2019, admitting to his role in the gang that violently defended itself and its drug territory, which included the 4300 block of West Wilcox Street and the 4300 block of West Jackson Boulevard.
Three members of the gang — Labar “Bro Man” Spann, Tremayne Thompson and Juhwun Foster — are set for what is expected to be a lengthy trial in September.
Turnipseed admitted in his plea agreement that, on Aug. 31, 2012, he and another Four Corner Hustlers member, identified in court records as Marchello Devine, got into an argument with another drug dealer over sales in the 4300 block of West Wilcox Street. Turnipseed pulled a gun and began shooting at the other drug dealer, who shot back.
They ended up wounding a 15-year-old girl.
Prosecutors said the girl was one block over from the shootout, had been walking away and did not hear the gunfire because she was listening to music. She didn’t realize she’d been hit until a neighbor yelled at her, according to federal authorities.
The girl suffered two “through-and-through” gunshot wounds — one on her right side and one near her lower chest — according to court records. She spent hours at a hospital, needed weekly counseling for two years and still suffers back pain, prosecutors said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Salib wrote that, if she’d happened to be “walking a few inches in one direction, one of the bullets could have pierced her heart and killed her.”
Schmiege wrote in a court memo last month that “it would be foolish” for Turnipseed to downplay the dangerousness of his actions.
“There is no dispute that Mr. Turnipseed is responsible for inflicting great pain,” Schmiege wrote.
But he said Turnipseed had been exposed to great violence as a child. He said Turnipseed was 13 when he witnessed the fatal shooting of a man at a bus stop. Two years later, Schmiege said, someone shot at Turnipseed and his best friend while they were walking to school, leading to the death of the friend. At the time, Turnipseed was the same age as the 15-year-old girl caught in the August 2012 shootout.
Schmiege wrote that Turnipseed had a “blossoming music career” before his arrest and hopes to continue it when he leaves prison.