By Peter Nickeas and Carlos Sadovi
4:40 PM CDT, June 29, 2013
As family struggled to keep a boy from remembering the details of a shooting that claimed the life of his mother and 5-year-old brother Friday, a suspect lay in a hospital bed across the city with several gunshot wounds of his own.
Chavonne Brown and her son Sterling Sims were shot 2:30 a.m. Friday in their apartment in the 5300 block of South Winchester Avenue. The boy's 12-year-old brother witnessed the shooting from his upper bunk bed.
The younger boy was shot in the head in his bed, police said. The boys' mother was also found shot in the head on her bedroom floor.
Shay Smith, a relative, said the family had not returned to the home and was struggling Saturday to keep the boy from talking about or remembering the homicides.
"He's taking it pretty well. Has he broke down yet? No, he has not," said Smith. "Right now we don't want him to talk about it."
Family members said they have not had the strength to go to the family's home, and have not begun trying to deal with funeral arrangements.
"We're trying to hold on; we're praying for strength at the moment," Smith said Saturday afternoon.
As the family struggled to come to terms with the slayings, police said the 18-year-old man suspected in the homicides was found bleeding from at least four gunshot wounds Friday night on the West Side.
The man shot Friday night is in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital. Someone walked up to him in the 2800 block of West Arthington Street in the Lawndale neighborhood about 9:10 p.m. and shot him in the buttocks, neck, leg and groin, police said.
Less than 20 hours passed between the homicides on Winchester and the Arthington Street shooting.
Three Chicago Police department sources confirmed the wounded man's identity as the sole suspect in the homicides.
Natalie Sims, another relative, said that she hopes the man makes a speedy recovery so the legal process can play out.
"What's supposed to happen is if you do a crime you're supposed to be convicted for your crimes and jailed," she said. "The family was in too much mourning, I don't see anyone in (our) family going to retaliate."
Police don't have anyone in custody in the 18-year-old's shooting. They found him alone with nobody around to provide details about what may have happened, police said.
Police initially identified him using a tattoo and confirmed his identity when he got out of surgery by taking his fingerprints.
Sims speculated that the shooting may have been unrelated, given the suspects background.
"Maybe he was caught up in other things, maybe he was in some other stuff," said Sims.
The man was charged with three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance in December 2012. A month before that, he was charged with manufacturing or delivering heroin, unlawful use of a weapon and not possessing a firearm owner ID card.
It's not clear how all the charges were adjudicated, though records show he was sentenced to two years probation and community service for the December 2012 controlled substance arrest.
Police knew who they were looking for early on because he was pointed out by witnesses as the shooter, sources said. Relatives of the two people killed also knew the man and said he lived in the neighborhood.
Court records match information about the suspect provided by family.
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