John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. is a former prosecutor and defense attorney who now hears felony cases as a Cook County judge. But when he was told his son had been shot after attending the funeral of a friend — who had been shot to death — his first thoughts were not about seeking justice.
“Prayer,” Lyke said on Monday. “Immediately that went through my mind. Praying for God to cover him and to make certain that he’ll be OK. Hoping that he wasn’t dead.”
Lyke said he wasn’t only praying for his wounded son Duriel, 28, but also thinking about what he’d say to the person who shot his son.
“The shooter, I want him to understand that I love him — I’m just disappointed and upset with him — because we’re all God’s children,” Lyke said.
Duriel Lyke, 28, was shot at 10 p.m. Saturday on East 79th Street in the Grand Crossing neighborhood, officials said. He had just left a nearby park with a group of mourners who had attended the funeral of Deshawn Boswell when someone in a gray SUV opened fire.
Boswell, 26, had been shot and killed June 16 just around the corner in what officials said appeared to be a botched drug deal, officials said.
Duriel Lyke was hit twice, in the head and the leg, and another man was struck in the ankle. Lyke was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition and immediately underwent emergency surgery, his family said.
Police said the 27-year-old man hit in the ankle is a known gang member. Lyke has no known gang affiliation, according to police and Lyke’s father.
No one was in custody in any of the shootings as of Monday night.
Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune
Lyke’s father said his son is an employee of Cook County and has a 7-year-old son. He described his son as a jokester and said he loves to travel.
Judge Lyke said that he has long been acquainted with violence in Chicago as a former prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney, and now as a judge. He grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes housing project and enlisted in the Army to pay for college and law school, he said.
He said that many people don’t realize that there’s trauma on both sides of a crime. It can hurt the family of a person who is shot, but it can also hurt the family of a person who is the shooter, and gets caught and is sent to prison.
“There’s a lot of young men who are misguided, misdirected and need to truly understand the impact of their actions. That a few seconds can have a dramatic effect for an entire lifetime,” Lyke said. “Not only the victim but the victim’s family and the perpetrator’s family once the perpetrator is caught, and all of them can be devastated over something that happens in an instant.”
His many years in the criminal justice system has not made it any easier to understand violence that has now hit so close to home.
“No situation rises to the level that you need to pull the trigger for some senseless reason,” Lyke said.
“I want the young man who pulled the trigger to know that God loves him, too, and hopefully he can understand that. That whatever was on his mind is not the way to go. And we can’t resolve any differences through the barrel of a gun.”
Lyke said his son has undergone four surgeries in two days to repair his skull and his leg. He is expected to have two more surgeries on both his leg and his head.
Lyke said thousands of people have reached out to the family on social media to offer their condolences. His son remains in remarkably good spirits, he said.
In the hospital room, when they took the tube out of Duriel’s throat the first time, his mother began to read a Bible passage to him. Duriel rolled his eyes, and everyone laughed.