Michelle Poindexter was so protective of her son Tyjuan that his friends constantly teased him about it.
“He don’t go nowhere, he don’t have no Facebook, if he don’t have family with him he goes nowhere,” said Poindexter, 35. “They used to taunt him: ‘Your mother walking you to school?’ But that’s my prerogative.”
On Saturday, 14-year-old Tyjuan begged her to let him go out with his friends unattended.
“He asked me and I said no,” she said. “He asked me again and I said OK, but please come back early.”
Later that evening she got a phone call: Tyjuan had been shot.
He was on his way to play basketball at 7:30 p.m. when police said a vehicle drove by and someone inside fired on him and his friends.
Tyjuan was shot in the head. He died in a driveway near the corner of 44th Street and South Greenwood Avenue in the North Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side.
At least three other boys were at the scene with him; one, a 15-year-old, had been shot twice in the leg.
Neither Tyjuan nor the boy who was wounded had any gang affiliations or criminal record, authorities said. His mother insisted gangbanging just wasn’t in his nature.
“He loved everybody,” she said. “Every time when I’m down, he says, ‘Hey, Mom, what can I do?’ ”
In his spare time, he would draw designs for custom gym shoes. And he was obsessed with wrestling, she said, especially Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“He still plays with his wrestling figures like he’s younger younger,” she said. “That’s his cup of tea.”
Her hands and voice didn’t stop shaking. She had spent hours pacing at the crime scene and walking around the block.
Around midnight, she paused to sit on a nearby stoop with a group of people looking at a row of cars and the evidence markers dotting 44th Street. She put her head on her mother’s shoulder and cried. Then she got up again and started walking.
She couldn’t help walking, she said, barely breathing between sentences.
She said she only wanted to be with family. But her family was at the crime scene, and somewhere in the crime scene – though she couldn’t see him – was her dead son, and that was too much. So she walked.
She walked by Kennicott Park, where her son liked to play basketball. She had come there first after hearing the news – “I ran over here, I didn’t walk, I couldn’t breathe” – and zigzagged around the park trying to find her son, or at least catch a glimpse of an ambulance.
When she realized nothing was there, she turned the corner and saw the crime scene tape. She rushed underneath until police stopped her from going any farther.
“They didn’t want me to break down there,” she said. “But I had no choice.”
Source: Chicago Tribune | Megan Crepeau