Teen Shot 22 Times: Police

Robert Freeman Jr. was about to enter the eighth grade at Oglesby Elementary School

By Adriana Correa and Lauren Jiggetts
|  Thursday, Jul 29, 2010  |  Updated 7:53 PM CDT
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Theresa Lumpkin says her 13-year-old son, Robert Freeman Jr., was shot multiple times on a South Side Chicago street.

Theresa Lumpkin says her 13-year-old son, Robert Freeman Jr., was shot multiple times on a South Side Chicago street.

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Theresa Lumpkin said she had been recently thinking of sending her son away to a safer neighborhood, fearful of the violence that's pervading her area.

Now, like so many other mothers who've experienced the pain of losing a child to gun violence, she'll bury her son.

Robert Freeman Jr., just 13 years old, was shot as many as 22 times Wednesday night in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood, police said.  He was standing next to a car near 115th Street and South Perry Avenue at around 8:15 p.m. when a masked gunman jumped out of an overgrown vacant lot and opened fire into a crowd of people.

Freeman was the only one hit, and witnesses said the gunman pumped bullet after bullet into the young boy's body.

"I miss my baby, I'm on my way to morgue right now," Lumpkin sobbed. "I've cried since 9:30 last night and I haven't had any sleep. I will not be eating."

"I don't want to bury my baby. My baby is 13 years old. I don't want to do it, but it's something I've got to do."

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office on Thursday confirmed that Freeman was shot more than 20 times.

Freeman's family and neighbors said they believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.  Freeman had a similar haircut, complexion and height as another boy in the neighborhood who they think was the target, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The teen was expected to begin eighth grade at Oglesby Elementary School this fall.  He had been living in the neighborhood for three months and was mowing lawns to make money.

Neighbors said the neighborhood has seen an increase in home foreclosures and violence recently, and they said they've complained for months about the overgrown, vacant lot from where the gunman emerged. 

"This is a harbor for the boys to get away," explained Darlecia Watts.  "They all need to come and cut this because this is taller than me."

Police have no suspects, but said they've spent the morning interviewing people from the neighborhood.

Community activist Andrew Holmes passed out around 400 fliers this morning seeking answers. 

"We don't want to sit and wait until this incident happens again," Holmes said. "We are trying to be proactive and get more into finding what makes these young men tick and pick up a gun, terrorize and take another life."

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