Man charged with killing childhood friend

Derrick Skipper, 40, shot Chris Head on Nov. 14 as the two argued at Head’s sister’s home in the 4300 block of West 16th Street, Cook County prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

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A man is accused of killing his childhood friend last fall in North Lawndale during a meeting to mediate a dispute between the two.

Derrick Skipper, 40, fatally shot 29-year-old Chris Head on Nov. 14 as the two argued at Head’s sister’s home in the 4300 block of West 16th Street, Cook County prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

Prosecutors didn’t describe the nature of the issue between the two, but a defense attorney for Skipper called it “an old neighborhood dispute.”

Earlier on the day of the shooting, Head had reached out to the landlord of his sister’s building and asked him for help because all three were friends from childhood, prosecutors said.

But during the meeting on the home’s rear porch, Skipper pulled out a gun and shot Head in the arm in front of the landlord, prosecutors and police said. Head ran into his sister’s apartment and collapsed on the floor.

Skipper then stood over Head while holding a gun as Head’s sister begged him not to shoot her brother again, mentioning that her young son was home at the time, prosecutors said. The landlord came up behind Skipper and pulled him from the house and Skipper fled, prosecutors said.

Derrick Skipper arrest photo

Derrick Skipper

Chicago police

Head was taken to a hospital but died of his wound, authorities said.

Both the landlord and Head’s sister identified Skipper in photo arrays, and cellphone data showed Skipper’s phone was in the area when the shooting occurred, prosecutors said. Skipper was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder.

Skipper was on parole for a drug conviction at the time of the shooting and has nine other felony convictions, including for weapons offenses, prosecutors said.

Skipper’s lawyer questioned the credibility of both witnesses and said his client was being “scapegoated” for the shooting. Skipper is married, has a daughter that he provides for, and would not be a danger to the community if released on bond, the attorney argued.

Judge Kelly McCarthy denied Skipper bail, noting that two witnesses had identified him as the gunman.

Skipper’s next hearing was set for March 15.

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