An 18-year-old man who friends said was walking a few blocks home after leaving a party because an argument broke out did not make it to his front door on the Far South Side Saturday morning.
He was shot about to death about 2 a.m. less than half-a-block from his home -- and presumably from safety.
"Not even alley to alley. Two minutes, Joe," said Stephen Spencer, 21, estimating the short amount of time it would have taken him to get to his house. "That's it. Thirty seconds."
A second man, 21, was shot in the foot as he walked with the man,
Police cars had raced to the West Pullman intersection about 4 a.m. Saturday where two hours earlier the 18-year-old man, identified as Thaddeus Tucker by the Cook County medical examiner's office, had been killed. It had been almost two hours since the teen was found dead, bleeding from his head, on a sidewalk in front of a house on 122nd Street just west of Lafayette Street.
Sherry Watson, 46, let out a muted groan and turned her head as officers lifted the young man in a body bag and set him into the back of a dimly-lit wagon. Others muttered and looked away.
"This was a child that had some sense," said Watson, who said the dead man deferred opportunities to drink or smoke with friends on a regular basis. The man was identified by multiple people at the scene as a June graduate of
" 'I don't play the game, call me when you get back,' " she recalled him saying.
"It's crazy all over," Brandie Clark, 34, said. "It's all over, don't even matter where. Chicago has gotten crazy. It's ludicrous. It's out of control."
A crowd had earlier gathered on the southeast corner of the intersection, in a spot that offered the clearest line of sight to the man's body.
Three marked police cars approached from the east and sped to the yellow tape as a woman, who appeared in her 20s, was being escorted away by another woman who appeared about the same age.
A young man in a blue shirt sat on the ground inside the tape, wearing handcuffs and surrounded by four officers.
The woman was yelling at police and taking steps backward even as her acquaintance held her torso and walked her away from the scene.
"So what you got a badge, I can get a badge too and we can get it cracking," she yelled from down the block.
Others at the scene spoke openly of revenge, and reiterated that they were not concerned that police officers were within earshot. People out here know what happened, a young man said, and someone was certain to find him and his house.
"How many bodies (do) you think (are going) to drop? How many bodies (do) you think (are going) to drop?" one young man asked a police commander at the scene.
After extra police arrived, a group of about ten officers walked past an ambulance toward a crowd that followed the woman as her acquaintance escorted her east away from the crime scene. The ambulance came to take the young man in handcuffs away.
At one point, 14 police cars – marked and unmarked, SUVs and sedans, and a wagon – sat parked around the scene and in the blocks surrounding it.
A quiet group of about two dozen waited at the crime scene while crime lab officers took photos and examined the young man's body. At least six evidence markers sat next to the body in a small area no more than two feet wide, indicating the casings were ejected from a gun held by a shooter whose weapon hand was steady. The dead man was shot numerous times in the head, police said.
Four women, one whose son was friends with the dead 18-year-old, spoke disapprovingly of the violence in the city and the seemingly small slights that can get someone shot.
Police had made no arrests and did not have any identification of the shooter. The second man that was wounded in the incident had gone home after being shot and called police from his home but wasn't very cooperative, police said. He's in stable condition at
Spencer stood outside the tape even as almost everyone else walked to the dead man's house about a block east. Spencer knew him since the two were toddlers, he said.
Spencer did not know the nature of the argument that had led his friend to leave the party.
"He was a competitive spirit, no matter what. Riding bikes, playing basketball, whatever," he said.
"For them to catch him like this, it's bogus. Life doesn't mean anything to anyone anymore," Spencer said.
Spencer said that, among his group of friends, the dead man was always one to try and stifle conflict before it escalated.
"He was always the one trying to disperse it, resolve it," Spencer said.
In other Friday night shootings:
A 27-year-old man was shot about 2:40 a.m. after arguing with two others in the 5200 block of South Wood Street in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, New Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. He's in stable condition at
A 31-year-old man was shot in the 8900 block of South Morgan Street about 12:40 a.m., Alfaro said. He was taken from the scene in the Gresham neighborhood to Little Company of Mary Hospital. No condition was available.
Another man, 40, was driving in the 4900 block of West Ferdinand Street in the South Austin neighborhood when he was shot about 1:25 a.m. He suffered a graze wound and was taken to West Suburban Medical Center, Alfaro said.
Two women – one 31 and the other in her 50s – were wounded in separate South and West side shootings Friday.
The 31-year-old was shot about 8:38 p.m. during an attempted robbery in the 4300 block of West 18th Street in the Lawndale neighborhood. She is in stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital and was shot in the shoulder, News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said.
Earlier, the older woman was shot in her left arm and grazed in her chest, Alfaro said. She's in stable condition at Advocate Christ Medical Center. The shooting happened about 5:55 p.m. in the South Chicago neighborhood, in the 8700 block of South Commercial Avenue.
Nobody is in custody, and area detectives are investigating.