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Teen accused with killing three at South Side bakery held without bond

Nicko Grayson

The young mother had just returned to the car with a cake for her 2-year-old daughter’s birthday when shots rang out and blasted into the vehicle, prosecutors said Tuesday.

A male in black pants and black hoodie had run up to the car, reached in and kept firing, Assistant State’s Attorney Jaime Santini said, killing Chanda Thompson, 21, the car’s driver, Shawn Russell, 21, and the rear passenger, Cortez Champion, 21.

Firing the shots was Nicko Grayson, who at 17 has an extensive juvenile record and has served time in the county’s juvenile detention facility, Santini said. He is charged with three counts of first degree murder.

Thompson was hit in the neck and back, and the two men were shot in the head and back, as they sat in a parking lot in the 400 block of East 87th near A Piece of Cake Bakery shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday.

Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil denied bail Tuesday to Grayson, wearing a black hoodie, after chiding him for not paying attention to the hearing.

“I have to consider the defendant’s danger to himself and to the community,” she said.

A witness reported seeing Grayson walking around the car and firing at the victims inside multiple times, Santini said. The witness allegedly watched Grayson reach inside and fire several more times, he said.

A second witness saw Grayson minutes before the shooting standing in a nearby alley, heard gunshots, and watched Grayson run back to the alley, where he got into a silver-colored car and fled.

The witness trailed the car for several blocks and saw Grayson and a second person run from it, Santini said.

A third witness told police Grayson ran from the parking lot of a restaurant with a gun in his hand. All three witnesses, Santini said, identified Grayson in a lineup.

Santini offered no motive for the shooting.

Grayson admitted to burglary and discharging a firearm in 2008, Santini said. He violated his probation from the gun case in 2009, then pleaded guilty twice in 2010 to residential burglary. He was paroled from juvenile custody in April.

He returns to court on Nov. 28.