by Scott Fredericks
One of the most highly anticipated prep basketball contests of the season turned tragic when a 17-year-old Morgan Park High School (MPHS) senior was shot and killed in a parking lot following the game at Chicago State University (CSU) on Jan. 16.
Tyrone Lawson was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center at 9:59 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. Lawson was shot in the buttocks and back, according to reports. The offenders fired four shots, and shell casings were recovered in the parking lot.
Chicago police quickly apprehended two suspects in a Jeep just east of the campus after the shooting. A gun was recovered.
Michael McNabb, 32, of the 11500 block of South Racine Avenue, and Stephen Gilbert, 29, of the 12400 block of South Harding Avenue, in Alsip, were each charged with first-degree murder and were ordered held without bail on Jan. 18. They had a Jan. 19 court date and had another scheduled for Jan. 22.
Morgan Park resident Tom Hopkins, who attended the game with his sons, said it was a well-behaved crowd throughout the night inside CSU's Jones Convocation Center.
"I thought it was a great environment. The security was good, and there was a police presence outside right after the game. We were sitting next to some kids from Brooks College Prep and had a great time," said Hopkins. "When we were pulling out of the school, there were about 30 squad cars flying in off 95th Street. I've been to games at Morgan Park and Simeon before and never worried about anything. It's part of the environment we live in now unfortunately."
The game was a wellplayed affair, featuring two teams from the state's top three along with several of the nation's top players, including Duke University recruit Jabari Parker.
The game was played without incident until the postgame handshake line. Then members of both teams became involved in an altercation. Order was quickly restored by CSU police and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) security.
Both teams were escorted to their respective locker rooms and stayed there for an extended period of time.
It was the latest in a series of ugly incidents at sporting events involving Chicago Public League rivals MPHS and Simeon.
Police and security personnel had to escort the 2006 Simeon basketball team, which included Bulls star Derrick Rose, to its bus following a game that year because a group outside the school assaulted the team.
Last fall, a football game between the two schools was postponed when a fight broke out in the stands at Gately Stadium. A victim was stabbed during the altercation. The two teams finished the game a few days later with fans barred from attendance. They played again without incident in the city championship game in late November.
The basketball game was moved to CSU to accommodate the large crowd. An estimated 5,000 fans attended the contest. CSU officials issued a statement following the incident.
"Chicago State University is deeply saddened by the tragic shooting death that followed a Chicago Public Schools basketball game held on campus. CPS periodically uses the university's athletic facility to provide a neutral setting for student sporting events. This is the first such incident to occur on the campus of Chicago State University where CPS students have played many times over the last three years. Additional security is provided by the university and all external partners during high school sporting events."
Simeon won the game 53- 51.
As a result of the incident, each team played its next few games with no spectators or media.