LYNN — A former Lynn gang member who was recently released from prison was shot to death on Elm Street Wednesday night.
Lynn Police responded to the area of 43 Elm St. shortly before 10:45 p.m. and found Vannark Chourb, 29, of Lynn, lying in the street after being shot in the face. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Essex County District Attorney’s office.
No arrests have been made and the homicide is under investigation. It’s unclear whether the shooting was gang-related.
Chourb finished serving a prison sentence in August 2017 for a gang-related double shooting in 2008. Two years after the shooting, he pleaded guilty to two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, two counts of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and witness intimidation.
Chourb, a then-member of the Little Crip Gang, or LCD, confessed to the shooting at a Bloods gang house on Warren Street. He was sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison.
But his sister, Vandy Chourb, said her brother had been living with her in Lynn since finishing his prison sentence and believed he was no longer active in gangs. She said she helped get him rehabilitated when he came home.
“He was not involved in any gangs,” Vandy said. “He stayed clean. He had his probation officer he checked in with … He just really wanted to help. He spent so much of his youth in prison that he just wanted to make up for it.”
Vandy, 35, said she didn’t know why her brother was on Elm Street on Wednesday night. She was sleeping when she got the call that he had been shot and killed, a day after their mother’s birthday.
“I immediately rushed to the scene and I arrived maybe 11 or 12 minutes after when they pronounced him dead on the scene,” she said. “They already had a white cloth covering him. I just asked an officer if I could give him a hug and hold him one more time and they would not let me.”
Vandy said it’s been one thing after another for her brother, explaining he’s had bad luck since he was born. Chourb nearly drowned when he was four months old, was struck by a car when he was 8 years old and was struck by another car this past July when he was riding a moped.
For the latest crash, he was struck so hard that he was thrown into the air and broke his entire left leg. She said Chourb could barely walk and had a disability claim pending.
Chourb was the youngest of six children. Vandy said she was the one who always stuck by her brother, explaining they had a close relationship. Her three kids were so happy to have their uncle home and are devastated by his death, she said.
Despite his past troubles — as part of his plea agreement for the double shooting, prosecutors at the time dismissed charges from 2008 against Chourb and other Lynn Crips gang members stemming from shooting at a house on Pinkham Street — Vandy called her brother family-oriented.
She said Chourb had a passion for cooking — he worked a lot in the kitchen while in prison and talked about going to culinary school. He was also known for being good with braiding hair, learning a lot about the trade while he was incarcerated.
Chourb had been working with Antonio Gutierrez, founder of Lynn Youth Street Outreach Advocacy and one of the co-founders of Stop the Violence Lynn, to get his life together. He recently got his driver’s license and was about to start a driving job that Gutierrez had helped him secure.
“There is no need for violence,” said Gutierrez. “We’re trying to create peace within our city so there shouldn’t be this kind of violence going on. We’re not blind, but we should not be having this. This should not be happening, but we’re not naive so we keep delivering the message of peace. We’re trying to keep people alive.”
Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s office, would not comment on whether there any suspects in the shooting.
Vandy said she’s been to the Lynn Police Station to see if there’s anyone in custody, or if they’ve interviewed any witnesses. She said she was told police can’t tell her much other than they have some leads and they’re working on it. But if she does get a chance to face the person responsible, she has some questions.
“I just don’t understand,” she said. “Why him? What was the reason? What did he do to deserve that?”