A Columbia College student with a love of Superman was just trying to prevent a friend from walking through a rough neighborhood when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting Tuesday night, friends and officials said.
Kevin Ambrose, 19, was shot just after 11 p.m. near the Chicago Transit Authority's 47th Street Green Line stop.
"He in no way deserved this. My son is in no way affiliated with any gangs," his grieving mother, Ebony Ambrose, said Wednesday. "He has been in structured programs all his life. I made a point to send him to decent schools."
By all accounts, Ambrose was a standout student at Columbia. He graduated from Kenwood High School just a year ago with designs on a theater major. He was a dancer, and three years ago was among a group of four from the Joffrey Ballet who earned a free trip to South Africa.
The teen on Tuesday night was planning on hanging out with two friends. They attended different schools and hadn't seen each other in a year. Knowing the neighborhood could be dangerous, Ambrose urged one friend to stay at his mom's while he went to meet up with the other friend.
He was shot in the back as he approached the CTA station and collapsed in a nearby alley.
"He was still alive when I got down there. He was just in pain. I could see it in his eyes," said Michael Dye, the friend he was on his way to meet.
Paramedics rushed Ambrose to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, where he was pronounced dead at 11:44 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.
"He was happy. He wanted people to be happy. He was excited about his future and he made plans and he was executing those plans," his mother said.
Ebony Ambrose said her son had recently discussed changing his major to law enforcement, a move she said fit with his character, in part because of his childhood admiration of Superman.
In fact, Ambrose's sister, Kristen, said she just gave her brother a Superman comic book last weekend.
"His face lit up. He put it on Instagram. It's the first time he wrote about me at all. I was very happy," she said.