A 21-year-old Burnside man has been charged in the fatal shooting of a 20-month old girl who was struck by gunfire believed to be intended for her father.
Danzeal Finley, of the 700 block of East 92nd Street, was charged shortly after midnight Saturday with one count of first-degree murder in the death of 20-month-old Cynia Cole, police said.
Cynia was shot in the head as she sat with her two young sisters in the back of her parents’ car Wednesday night in the Chatham neighborhood. She later died at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital.
Police said they think Cynia’s death was gang-related and that her father, Jerome Hendricks, was the intended target.
“He’s going to have to live with that for the rest of his life,” Police Supt. Jody Weis said of Hendricks at an afternoon press conference. Hendricks is a Gangster Disciples member and Finley is a rival Black P Stone member, police sources said.
On March 7, Finley was shot in the pelvis by one of Hendricks’ pals, police have alleged. The friend — Michael J. Wilson — was charged with attempted murder, court records show. A police source said Cynia’s shooting may have been related to Wilson’s upcoming trial. Weis confirmed today that Finley was the victim of a shooting, but said the police department is investigating whether that played a role in the attempt on Hendricks.
Finley surrendered to Chicago police Thursday afternoon, accompanied by Rev. James Meeks. Finley’s mother called Meeks and asked him to help because Finley was scared for his safety, Meeks said. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Cynia was struck in the back of the head with one bullet when Finley, wearing a black hoodie, fired shots into the rear of the car. As Finley turned to flee, his hoodie fell off, Alvarez said.
Cynia’s mother “recognized him from the neighborhood” and identified him by name and later, in a police lineup, Alvarez said. Alvarez said Finley and Cynia’s mother had known each other for five years, but would not provide further detail about the nature of their relationship.