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Teen dies in mother’s arms: ‘He was my baby’

Bridget Doyle, Chicago Tribune –

After seeing yet another neighborhood kid get shot, Sandra Tyler decided to send her 13-year-old son Tyquan to live with a relative in East Moline about eight months ago.

But while visiting for summer vacation, Tyquan went to a party with his sisters and was shot and killed, dying in his mother’s arms, she said Sunday.

Tyler said her son had been home for only two weeks when on Saturday, he begged her to let him go to a party in the city’s Woodlawn area with his 15- and 19-year-old sisters. When the mother of three, a security guard, arrived after midnight to pick up her kids in the 6200 block of South Rhodes Avenue, her son was lying on the sidewalk, she said.

“I held him in my arms on the sidewalk and talked to him while he was fighting for his life,” Tyler said Sunday. “I regret letting him go to the party. He was my baby so loving and respectful.”

Tyler and her daughters said Tyquan was walking away from the party where a fight had broken out and spilled into the street. A car drove by and shot into the crowd, Tyler said, hitting her son in the chest. Police said the shooting occurred at 1:20 a.m. Tyquan was pronounced dead less than two hours later.

Tyquan, who would have entered eighth grade in the fall, loved to play basketball with friends and draw portraits, Tyler said. His favorite class was artand he was good at it, she said. Tyler said she and her children went to Allen Temple AME Church in the Chatham area.

Tyler’s sister, Sherry, said Tyquan had “beautiful gray eyes,” “long eyelashes” and “the soul of an old man.”

“I held him when he was born; I changed his diapers when he was a baby,” said Sherry, who declined to give her last name. “He wasn’t just a statistiche had a family who loved him.”

Near the scene of Tyquan’s death Sunday afternoon, a cardboard box served as a memorial draped in glittery leis and a single glow stick. Messages to Tyquan were scrawled on the box, many calling him “lil bro.”

Tyquan was one of four people killed in weekend violence.

• A 22-year-old man was shot to death at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at 130th Street and Eberhart Avenue on the South Side.

• On the West Side, Hansen Jackson, 29, of Cicero, died after he was shot in the chest about 2 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of Chicago and Ridgeway avenues, police said.

• Fourteen-year-old Antonio Davis, of the 8000 block of South Eberhart Avenue, died of multiple gunshot wounds Friday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

• Two other boys, 14 and 15, were shot and wounded while playing basketball on the South Side, and a man was shot after a funeral party, also on the South Side, police said.

Police canvassed the area around Rhodes Avenue on Sunday, offering grief counseling to those at the scene.

Neighbors standing outside the home across the street from the party said they were too afraid to give their names in light of the increased violence in the area. One woman, who said she’s lived in the Woodlawn area for 42 years, said she was “frustrated and terrified” of what her neighborhood has become.

Leeodis and Deborah Dortch, neighbors of Tyler’s Chicago Lawn home, said they don’t allow their 16-year-old son to go to big parties out of fear he might meet the same fate as Tyquan.

“These kids are at parties, unsupervised by adults,” Leeodis Dortch said. “There’s not enough parental supervision going on. These all start the same way with something stupid and then explode.”

Deborah Dortch said fear of street violence has made her so wary, she no longer allows her children to take the bus. Instead, she and her husband take turns picking them up and dropping them off at CICS-Ellison on the South Side.

“Our babies are being killed for no reason,” Deborah Dortch said.

Tribune reporter Pete Nickeas contributed.

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