A few days after his 9th birthday, Jeremiah Ellis and his 6-year-old brother were sitting on a blanket on the floor of their grandmother’s living room when bullets flew through a window.
Their grandmother, asleep on a couch a few yards away, was awakened by the noise but wasn’t sure if what she heard was gunshots or their noisy metal fan.
“I didn’t know what it was at first, and the fan was shaking a bit,” Sentoria Williams Adams said Friday. She dropped to the ground and rushed over to Jeremy and put her arm around her grandson.
“My arm curled under him and I felt blood oozing through my fingers,” Adams said. “I started shouting, ‘Call the police’.”
Jeremiah was taken to Evanston Hospital, where he died on arrival. He had been shot 11 times, according to Cook County prosecutors. Her brother was shot in the foot and later released from hospital.
Three people – Richard Banks, 22, Christian Anderson, 16 and Tamesha Clark, 32 – are each charged with first-degree murder in the May 14 shooting, which Skokie police described as a targeted attack. The three men also face charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Banks, Anderson and Clark, all of Chicago, were each held without bail. Anderson is charged as an adult.
Prosecutors allege the trio “calculated a plan to carry out this shooting,” saying they repeatedly locked up the residence and drove to the scene together armed with multiple firearms.
At a press conference on Friday, Skokie police did not say who the three were targeting, noting that several family members were inside the home at the time. Police also did not provide details of the shootings of one or more suspects.
Jeremiah turned 9 days early on May 11, but wanted to go to his grandmother’s house this weekend to celebrate with her because she couldn’t make it to her birthday party, Adams said.
“Earlier in the day, I had a barbecue outside the house and we just hung out,” Adams said, adding that they were planning to visit Skokie Water Park the next day.
Jeremiah was a “lover” who loved basketball, loved being with his family and friends, Adams said. His favorite foods were seafood and cabbage.
“I’m glad we got justice, it’s his smile that lights up the town,” said Jeremiah’s father, Cecil Tousant. “He loved Tik Tok, he just wanted to be a kid.”