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Police Name Homicide Victim As Suspect in Evanston Man's Murder

Police say they believe Blake Ross, 20, an Evanston resident, may be partly responsible for the shooting death of Justin Murray, 19, in November 2012. Ross was shot and killed in May 2013.

Justin Murray, left, in a yearbook photo, and Blake Ross, right, in a family photo.
Justin Murray, left, in a yearbook photo, and Blake Ross, right, in a family photo.

One year after Justin Murray, 19, was shot and killed in Evanston, police say they have identified at least one suspect and are closer to solving the murder. 

Police believe that Blake Ross, 20, an Evanston resident who was shot and killed in Chicago this May, was at least partly responsible for Murray’s murder, according to Evanston Police Cmdr. Jason Parrott. Based on interviews with community members, police also believe there was at least one other person involved in the murder, and they think they know who that person is, according to Parrott.

There is not enough evidence at this point, however, to charge anyone in Murray’s murder, Parrott said, and police may “clear” the case on Blake Ross—in other words, they may consider it solved because an offender has been identified. That hasn’t happened, yet, however, he added.

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“We’re not saying charges shouldn’t be brought, there just may not be enough evidence to do that,” Parrott said. “The case is not closed, it’s still an open investigation. 

Murray’s Death: Nov. 29, 2012

Murray was shot in front of his grandmother’s home in the 1800 block of Brown Avenue on Nov. 29, 2012. Family members say he had just flown home that day from California, and was visiting with a friend that night. Witnesses saw and heard two offenders fire several shots from behind a fence two houses north of his grandmother’s home, according to police.

Evanston police have said that there are indications that the murder was gang-related, but that there are “no indicators that the victim, specifically, is a gang member.”

Murray graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2011, and then moved to San Diego, where he was working part-time and attending school, according to his mother, Carolyn Murray. She described him as “a very warm, passionate person,” who enjoyed working out and played football for the Wildkits during his freshman year.

Ross’s Death: May 12, 2013 

Like Murray, Ross grew up in Evanston and also attended Evanston Township High School, although he did not graduate. His cousin, LaN’eca Ross, told Patch in May that he had five siblings and enjoyed playing with his younger nieces and nephews. 

Ross’s body was found shot multiple times on May 12, 2013, on the far south side of Chicago, according to authorities. Evanston police have said that his death, too, may be tied to ongoing gang-related violence in Evanston, and that Ross may also have been an intended target of a shooting near the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center five days before he was killed.

Related: Timeline of Gang Violence in Evanston

Chicago police are still investigating Ross’ death, according to a spokesperson for the department. He said he could not provide information about any leads in the case, however, since it is an ongoing murder investigation.

Ross had documented gang affiliations, according to the Chicago Police department, but it is still undetermined whether gang ties played a role in his murder.

Families Question Evanston Police Investigation

Speaking at a recent Evanston city council meeting, Carolyn Murray told aldermen that she was disappointed in the possibility that police might clear her son’s murder without pressing charges against anyone.

“From all of the information that was told to me by the police, by family members, by residents, we know that there were at least three people on the scene of the crime,” she said. “If there is someone present during a murder, they were as guilty as the shooter.” 

Parrott said, however, that police need lots of evidence to charge someone in a murder, and there just isn’t enough physical evidence to do so at this point.

“Because we clear one person, that does not mean we’re not trying to charge somebody else,” he added. Throughout the case, police have asked anyone with information to contact the detective bureau at 847-866-5040 or to use the Text-A-Tip system by texting any tip information and the word “EPD TIP” to the number CRIMES (274637). 

Murray told council members, however, that she would like police to turn over the investigation files so she could hire a private investigator. She also said she would like to see federal agents get involved in the investigation.

Ross’s grandmother, Juanita Ross, also spoke at the city council meeting. She said that Evanston police interviewed her grandson after Murray was shot, but did not arrest him on an outstanding warrant.

“They questioned him, they let him go,” she said. “That should have come up with him, too.” 

Toinette November 16, 2013 at 07:30 AM
Wow.....EPD are full of shit. Find the killer and leave Blake alone. But I guess it's easier to blame a dead man. Case close. EPD haven't said another word about the person who was shooting at Blake at Fleetwood where kids were present and y'all have footage of the individual. All the Ross family wants is for EPD to let Blake rest.
Jordan S. Zoot November 16, 2013 at 08:11 AM
Gang members kill gang members...they are like roaches let them cannibalize each other.
Resident30 November 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM
EPD doesn't do their job. Never has never will. Now because they wanna shut Mrs. Murray up they pinpoint Blake because he's dead. That's ridiculous. Do some real police work. Evanston has too many unsolved murder cases.
Joyce Woods November 16, 2013 at 01:48 PM
I represent The Woods Foundation, we are dedicated to the perseverance of our troubled youth and senior citizens. We have also been compiling public opinion about the murders of Justin and Blake. The general consensus is , Blake Ross, in the process of shooting at Jevar Bamberg, mistakenly shot and killed Justin. Then Blake allegedly shot and killed Jevar Bamberg, then Blake was killed in retaliation. All of this is speculation and hearsay. My concern at this time is how do we stop the violence? When does all the retaliation end? It is so discerning how all this has affected the families an d the community as a whole. Growing up here in Evanston there was NEVER a gang problem as we are seeing now Only two people were killed here during my childhood, my cousin, Chippey Payne and Raymond Lackey, both were victims of knife wounds after a physical altercation. This is one of the eason I created The Foundation, to get public support to take back our community and take it back to some degree as the Evanston we have known since childhood. The land needs a healing and it all starts in the home, my home first. Mothers, Fathers, Aunties, Uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, grandparents, we all need to come together and yes become each others keeper and build a foundation for the Village to maintain and sustain all that affects us, individually and collectively
Heather November 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM
I cry as im writing this yes I know all these kids weather there gone or not. I live in the middle down from ETHS the EPD dont give a Crap! All they see is 1 color its sicken im tired of it! My son has been friends with everyone of these kids again weather there still here or not , they treat my son Like shit , me too & my whole family I watch them Like they watch us I dont trust em for nothing . Ive had things happen and had supervisor & higher up tell me to shut the F**k up I lost it then while still on the phone crying hes going to say to 1 of his buddies omg this Lady is crying No arrests my Lawyer said because the EPD doesnt Like your son and its going to help your family out !? Its scary , we had a whole family come to our house on our property act my husband & me while my kids stool there watched & cryed I call 911 Ambulance came & about 6 to 8 officers came im a Women mother & Wife they beat me Like I was a man!! You know what the police said to me my husband & kids we made up the whole story! Really EPD so the 911 call was fake the Ambulance coming at 1:03am my kids seeing this telling me that we coached them in to lying & we wete Lucky we were not being aressted for making a false police report go to H**l EPD dont worry we dont hate you Dont fell sorry for you either its Evanston Im worried about & feel sorry for & the familes & No you dont have to be 1 color to go through this Im a White Women Married to Black Man 20 strong yrs my kids are mixed and EPD yes you are racist!!!
Jordan S. Zoot November 18, 2013 at 11:23 PM
There is no racism here...and anyone that claims it is HOGWASH!!..hoodrat...gangbanger...thugs live and die by the gun...that's a simple truth. IT DEMONSTRATES THAT MURRAY'S MOTHER'S TIRADE AT THE EVANSTON CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS WERE FULL OF CROCODILE TEARS. Her son was a gangbanger...and he died a violent death....get over it, move on, but don't you dare try to shove gun control up our butts in the name of a gangbanging thug getting murdered in gang related violence....its a stain.
Elizabeth Hunt November 19, 2013 at 10:03 PM
You're disgusting Jordan. Pure vile. Joyce, I'd love to know more about how to volunteer with your foundation.
Jordan S. Zoot November 19, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Elizabeth Hunt....in case you haven't noticed I don't give a rat's arse with regard to what you think. The truth may hurt too bad....dead hoodrats and thugs made a choice to be involved with gangs.....live by the sword die like a rat and then your mother tries to whine to the Evanston City Council. Sorry....not on my watch...and every time a gun control issue shows up.....we will be there to see that the rights of law abiding Evanston residents aren't usurped in the name of dead gangbangers.....
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 08:53 AM
Jordan, the truth is that your mind is far too addled to have the foggiest notion what is true and what is delusion. You've repeatedly demonstrated that here, and I'm not sure why Elizabeth Hunt or anyone gives a rat's arse what you think.
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Evanstonia.....you are entitled to express your opinion...and ignorance as you see fit...its rather amusing. However, the reality that being a gang member in Evanston leads to a violent death is a fact.
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Sometimes it does lead to a violent death. And sometimes it leads to jail. And sometimes it leads to eventually leaving the gang and becoming a productive member of society. And sometimes, it leads to eventually leaving the gang and becoming someone who speaks out against gangbanging and counseling the next generation of youth to stay away. So you are also entitled to express your opinion and ignorance as you see fit. Your mind is also too addled to have the foggiest notion what is ignorance and what is a larger, broader truth about society that you can't quite grasp.
IgnorantA November 20, 2013 at 11:00 AM
education of youth starts with the family.
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Evanstonia.....they can't counsel a next generation from the grave. Your comments reflect who and what you are.....and I don't even need to articulate it, as its prima facie.
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 11:30 AM
All of our comments reflect who we are, Jordan. 'Nuf said.
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Well...all the more reason that a half mile radius of ETHS needs AGGRESSIVE STOP AND FRISK....KISS THE PAVEMENT WITH K9s....call it OPERATION NIGHT NIGHT HOODRATS
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 12:40 PM
All the more reason ... because you want to make sure that our comments reflect that you're a gun nut who thinks nothing of police racially profiling and abusively manhandling any minority youth who stand still for more than three seconds in the vicinity of ETHS? We already know that. You do comment on here about 37 times a day, saying the same things over and over again. We get it. I mostly skip your comments, and now I'm going to resume my regularly scheduled life and go back to doing that for awhile, until I don't.
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 12:41 PM
*your comments*
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Actually I don't comment that often...and I guess we do agree that "minority youth" and HOODRAT are interchangable terms. As for gun nut...try law abiding citizen..
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM
We agree on what you mean when you say "HOODRAT," as it's pretty obvious. As for law abiding citizen, try the next Robert Zimmerman train wreck waiting to happen, when an Evanston minority youth happens to walk down your street or look at you the wrong way.
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Just curiously...Ms. Ignorance...who is Robert Zimmerman..perhaps you mean George...not that facts ever mattered to the ignorant. Zimmerman was properly acquitted.....as for the second part....I sincerely hope I am not placed in the situation where I am compelled to legally deploy lethal force...if necessary I will do so...and aim for the center of mass and shoot to stop an attack in its tracks. Your inflamatory spew demonstrates why hoodrats thrive in your community...you have my promise that I am not looking for a battle...however, if someone aims a firearm at me and asks for my wallet.....I will respond with lethal force rather than capitulate with a thug. And if it were to happen they will only need two pallbearers...I have yet to see three handles on a garbage can.
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 01:09 PM
I will add "inflammatory spew" to the list of things that you're unqualified to define and can't quite recognize in yourself. And yes, Robert Zimmerman is the equally charming (but not yet accused of violence) brother of your kindred spirit George.
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Evanstonia....you are so ignorant that it earns you the label ignorant regardless of race. The fact that you don't even seem to be capable of reading a newspaper article and keeping names straight is who you are. Trayvon Martin is DJ Skrew all over again. Concealed Carry is permitted by law...and unfortunately, there will be a loss of life based upon HOODRATS making bad decisions....and I feel no grief....they make their own choices and deserve what they get.
Jordan S. Zoot November 20, 2013 at 01:33 PM
The utterance of the phrase...."he was trying to turn his life around" could gag a maggot. I could explain what that is code for but won't go there.
Evanstonia November 20, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Hard to sound more ignorant than calling someone "ignorant regardless of race" as if the two are related. As for Robert and George, maybe subconsciously I don't think their names are worth keeping straight.

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