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Police Make Arrest In Triple Homicide Case

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Feb 27, 2009 4:45PM

Photo by Chicago Police Dept., via the Sun-Times
Chicago Police have arrested Martin Ybarra (pictured right), 20, in connection with last week's gang-related shooting near 87th Street and Exchange Ave. which left three Southeast Side teenagers dead. Ybarra has been charged with three counts of murder and police believe he may have been the one to pull the trigger on the semi-automatic weapon used in the shooting, though officials say they are still seeking others who were involved in the shooting. The shooting followed what residents of the neighborhood called an escalation of violence between gangs over the preceding days. The shooting claimed the lives of three teens: Raheem "Chiko" Washington, 15, Kendrick Pitts, 17, and Johnny Edwards, 13. Family members and friends say Washington and Pitts had previously been involved with gang skirmishes, though according to the Tribune report, it's still unclear if any of the three were actually targets.

According to the Sun-Times, residents of the neighborhood identified Ybarra by his street name - "Slim." That led authorities to Ybarra who was acquitted last year in a 2005 shooting death. At the time of that incident, Ybarra was enrolled at Bowen. Both Washington and Pitts were also enrolled at Bowen at that time. Ybarra is alleged to be a member of the Latin Kings street gang, though we haven't come across any reports identifying potential gang affiliations of the victims.

Meanwhile, new Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman said he'll be paying more attention to gang-related violence and skirmishes and how it affects students and various school boundaries, and even the way students have to cross gang boundaries to simply get to their school and how CTA buses cross those boundaries. Said Huberman, "I want to understand what the pressure points are ... to ensure the safest means to get students to and from schools." Last week's shooting happened close to a neighborhood school around 3:15 p.m.