Gunman kicked body after fatally shooting man in Palmer Park: prosecutors

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Keevon Conner, 30, was held with no bail Sunday on a charge of first-degree murder. | Chicago Police

A gunman kicked the body of a man after fatally shooting him in Palmer Park on Thursday afternoon in the Roseland neighborhood on the Far South Side, according to Cook County prosecutors.

On Sunday, Cook County Judge David R. Navarro ordered Keevon Conner, 30, held without bail as he faces a first-degree murder charge. Conner is a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang, according to prosecutors.

About 2:30 p.m. Thursday, 25-year-old Larreese Smith and his friend were walking through Palmer Park near 112th Street and King Drive when Conner came up to them and shot Smith multiple times, prosecutors said. Smith’s friend ran away but turned to look back and saw Conner standing over Smith’s body as he tried to fire again but couldn’t when his gun jammed.

Another witness heard the gunshots and saw the shooter, wearing a red hoodie, standing over a body, prosecutors said. The witness saw the gunman kick the body before walking away toward 111th Street. He called police and told officers what he saw and in which direction the suspect walked away.

Officers found Smith’s body surrounded by four .9 mm shell casings, prosecutors said. Smith, who lived less than a mile away, was pronounced dead on the scene with three gunshot wounds to the chest and back.

Chicago Police surveillance cameras in the area showed Conner getting into blue 2000 Saturn at a strip mall at 111th Street and Vernon Avenue, prosecutors said. About half an hour after the shooting, officers saw the Saturn driving east on 111th Street and pulled it over, taking Conner into custody less than two blocks away from the scene. He was wearing a red hoodie.

Officers later found a .9 mm semi-automatic handgun in a grill across from Palmer Park, prosecutors said. The weapon was loaded with six live rounds and had a cartridge jammed in the chamber. Tests on the gun determined the casings recovered at the scene were fired from the weapon.

Police also reviewed surveillance video at the strip mall, which showed Conner walking past Smith and his friend before the shooting, then Conner returning to his car after the shooting, prosecutors said. The witness identified Conner as the shooter.

Conner, of the Marquette Park neighborhood, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted, prosecutors said. He was on probation when arrested and has previous felony convictions, most recently an aggravated robbery in 2013.

Conner is due back in court on Monday.

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