Porshe Foster and Taniesha Dukes were inseparable friends since 5th grade and both teens attended the same vocational high school. Foster was studying to be an architect, while Dukes wanted to work in construction.
On Monday night the two were outside a home in Chicago Lawn when gunfire erupted and Dukes witnessed her best friend – known for her beautiful smile and outgoing personality -- fatally wounded.
“I didn’t want to believe it,” said Dukes, 16, her eyes tearing up as she sat in the Foster family home on Tuesday afternoon. “I was calling her name. I was like, ‘Porshe! Porshe!’ And I’m like, ‘You good?!’ She wouldn’t say nothing back to me.”
Chicago police believe the shooting was gang-related but that Foster, 15, did not appear to be the intended target. The two friends were with two boys in the backyard near West 70th Street and South Campbell Avenue when a gunman walked up and opened fire at about 9:20 p.m, police said. Foster was shot in the back and pronounced dead shortly after 10 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
The Chicago Lawn police district – which includes the Marquette Park and Gage Park neighborhoods in addition to Chicago Lawn – has seen a 42 percent increase in homicides through Nov. 18, department statistics show. Police sources familiar with that area have said the rising violence was largely the results of conflicts among numerous factions of the Gangster Disciples street gang.
A Tribune story in July said that through the first half of the year, more children had been shot in the Chicago Lawn District – 17 victims, all 15 or younger -- than in any of the city’s 22 other police districts.
In the interview, Dukes said Foster was able to reach the back porch and laid down. Gunfire continued.
“I thought she was just ducking from the shots,” Dukes said.
Foster, who attended church regularly, was a sophomore at Ace Technical Charter High School on the South Side, where she played basketball and volleyball, her family said. The youngest of seven, she wanted to be an architect because of an uncle who had similar aspirations but died tragically during training with the U.S. Army.
Family members said Foster was photogenic and loved having her photo taken.
“She posed a lot. If there was a camera around, Porshe was around,” her aunt Demetria Rogers said in the family apartment, decorated with numerous photos of Foster. “She was very outgoing. She loved to smile, loved to laugh.”
Her mother, Bonita Foster, asked for prayers for her family and urged anyone with information about the killing to call police.
“This thing has to be stopped,” Foster said. “It’s foolishness. The only thing that was accomplished is that you just ripped our hearts out of our chests. And for what?”
Tribune reporter Carlos Sadovi contributed.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times