15-Year-Old Shot, Killed on His Birthday

Jovany Diaz was near his home when someone stepped out of an alley and began shooting, family says

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    NEWSLETTERS

    June 14, 2011: Jovany Diaz's family say the 15-year-old wasn't a troublemaker but a straight-A student who loved basketball.

    What was supposed to be a day of fun turned to tragedy when Chicago's gun violence took the life of a boy celebrating his 15th birthday on Monday.

    Jovany Diaz was near his home, in the 4300 block of West Hirsch Street in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood, when someone came out of an alley and opened fire.

    "He was always happy. He made everybody laugh even when they were down. He was friends with everybody -- no gang-banging stuff. It was basketball, school and being a goofball," said the boy's sister, Maritza Rodriguez.

    She remembered her brother as having dreams of being a better basketball player than Michael Jordan.

    The family said they were planning to move out of the neighborhood by the end of the month. His grandmother wanted to find a better and safer place to raise Diaz and his brother.

    A tearful father, Jesus Diaz, said he can't believe his son is gone and has a message for his son's killer.

    "I hope that your conscience, whoever did it, gets you to the point where you could turn yourself in."

    A 19-year-old who was with Diaz was also shot in the right hand. He was treated and released from the hospital. 

    Chicago Police are investigating, but have no one in custody.

    Less than 24 hours after the shooting the killed Diaz, a 25-year-old man was shot in the same block, the Chicago Tribune reported.