The Gun King (Southside collection)

Written by John H. Richardson

When a middle-class kid from the suburbs was caught using Facebook to distribute firearms bought legally at Indiana gun shows to notorious gangsters across the border—was he a kingpin or a scapegoat?

David Lewisbey received perhaps the harshest sentence ever in a gun-trafficking trial. A college student from the suburban outskirts of Chicago, he allegedly embodied the enterprising swagger of his favorite rap lyrics, moving weapons for stacks of cash. John H. Richardson tours Chicago’s gun-soaked South Side with Lewisbey’s clientele and meets with the “Big Man” himself to unpack the truth.

John H. Richardson’s The Gun King is part of Southside, a collection of five true stories about racism and reform, crime and corruption, justice and injustice in Chicago—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning team at The Marshall Project. With original photography by Carlos Javier Ortiz and Joshua Lott. Each story can be read—or listened to—in a single sitting.

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