Parents voice concerns at cases’ progress
Updated: February 19, 2013 1:43PM
The parents of two recent shooting victims are expressing frustration at the lack of communication from police in the investigation into the deaths.
In appearances before the City Council’s Human Services Committee Jan. 7 and City Council Monday night, parents Carolyn Murray and John Bamberg, Sr., expressed concern about little information shared in their sons’ cases.
Murray’s son, Justin, was shot to death, his body found Nov. 29 lying on a parkway outside his grandmother’s house on the 1800 block of Brown Avenue.
Javar Bamberg, 23, was found shot to death Dec. 12 in an alley behind the 1700 block of Grey Avenue.
Police believe the crimes were part of ongoing violence involving families and individuals with interpersonal differences dating back 10 years.
Carolyn Murray, of 1930 Grey Ave., has been active in community crime prevention programs and was putting together a gun buy-back program when her son was shot.
“To this day I have not received an update from the police department nor any communications,”’ she told aldermen, “other than my contacting them with information in regards to Justin’s complaints, and witnesses and issues that pertain to the case.”
She also suggested victims don’t feel assured to share information with police, seeing what happened in her son’s case.
Murray said she was recently approached by one mother whose son ‘’was beaten beyond recognition.”
“I asked the mother did her son report this to the police, and (she) politely told me no, they did not report it to the police because look at what happened to your son.”
She also raised concern about a differential in police presence following shootings.
“In our ward, you can get your house shot up. You don’t even get a phone tree, you don’t get notification,” she said.
Murray, a military veteran, who has been a community block captain, warned council members more trouble could occur “if you don’t take into consideration a strategic plan to combat this violence.”
At the Human Services Committee meeting Jan. 7, Bamberg called on aldermen to conduct an investigation into police handling of his son John Bamberg’s Jr.’s case. In a November bench trial in Skokie, Bamberg Jr., was cleared of first-degree murder charges in the 2010 shooting Marcus Davis outside Smitty’s Garage in Evanston.
At the trial, police use of eyewitnesses came under fire.
In front of the council Monday, Bamberg joined Murray in alleging poor communication by police.
He said his son Javar was killed about 2 a.m. on Dec. 12. Though the family lived two blocks from the murder spot, he said they were not notified by police until 7:15 that morning.
He said the family has since received visits from two North Regional Major Crimes Task Force investigators.
“They have not told us anything at all about Javar’s murder,’’ he said.
Asked about the concerns, Police Chief Richard Eddington said Tuesday that he appreciated the frustration the families are feeling.
“I grasp that as an individual,’’ he said. On the other hand, “I’m responsible for a multi-tiered ongoing investigation into not just the homicides but the shootings.” He said that so much of the case “is interconnected and interwoven,” police have to be concerned about what level of information divulge so they don’t jeopardize the case.
“It’s a balancing act,’’ the chief said.~.