Darius Brown, 13, was a natural at basketball and played at the park every day. In the end, he died doing what he loved.
"I can't cry anymore," said his older brother, 16-year-old Devin Brown. "But I will love him and pray for him."
Darius was shot in the neck at 5:20 p.m. Wednesday on the 4200 block of South State Street while playing basketball at Metcalfe Park in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. Police said he was the unintended target of gunfire that erupted from a passing car.
The boy was taken to Comer Children's Hospital where he was listed in critical condition. He died later Wednesday night.
Devin, who said he was almost always with Darius, was on his way to meet his younger brother at the basketball court when the shooting occurred. The ambulance was there by the time he arrived.
Devin described Darius as the most promising basketball player, more promising than himself. "I taught him to be fearless" [in basketball]," he said, adding he will honor him "every time I step on the court."
A sergeant told NBC Chicago that police have not yet found the car from which the bullet was fired. But Thursday afternoon police released an image of white car seen in the area at the time of the shooting. They're careful to not call it the shooter's car but said they want to speak with the occupants inside.
Family members said they're stunned by what happened and are simply fed up with violence and gun fire in the city.
"You read about it. You hear it on the news. You pray that it stops, but when it affects home you really feel it," said Darius' older sister, Paris Morrison.
"It's sad because of the violence that's going on. He was innocent," Morrison said.
Darius would have been an 8th grader at Holy Angels Catholic School. John Berry, the school's athletic director, said Darius is the second incoming 8th grader he's lost in the past few years.
"It's time for the city to have youth centers that are protected environments," he said.
Friends and community members gathered near the scene of the shooting Thursday afternoon to decry the violence. A reward of $9,000 is now being offered for information that leads to an arrest.
"I don't care how many police we have on the corners of America, until we get tired, until we rise up in our neighborhoods and our blocks and our community and say, 'We are not going to tolerate this.' I am so sick and tired of hearing people afraid to come forward and talk because they're afraid of what the shooter may do. Well it's time to make the shooter afraid of the community," said Fr. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina's Catholic Church.
|Police detectives are looking for help in identifying the occupants of the white car in this photo. The car was in the area of 43rd and State on Wednesday when shots rang out, ultimately killing a 13-year-old boy on a basketball court.|
|Devin Brown looks at the basketball trophies won by his younger brother, Darius, who died Wednesday night after being struck by drive-by gunfire.|
|Darius' Teammates from Robert Taylor Park embrace each other. Teammate Matthew Robinson said: "We were just with him yesterday. We want something positive from this. Darius didn't deserve this."|