Thirteen year-old Sameere Conn's interests were sports and girls, not gangs, according to his grandmother. But she thinks it was a gang shooting that took his life when he stopped at a corner grocery store on the way home from football practice, just a block away from his house on the far South Side.
"He was there," said his grandmother, Elaine Mayo. "He just happened to be there. He was on his way home. He just happened to be there."
At 8:30 Wednesday night, shots were fried from just outside the Hook Finer Foods grocery, through the front door into the aisles, police said. Sameere was standing just a few feet from the checkout counter when he was hit in the stomach. He died eight hours later.
"He just made 13 years old. He didn't have a chance to do nothing," said Mayo.
Sameere was a great athlete, his friends said. He even earned the nickname "Six Pack" because of his muscles.
"I used to see him sitting out here with girls all the time. Always with girls. Always with girls," said his friend, Connie Tarr, 18.
His classmates at Bright Elementary School said Sameere was thought of as a role model at the school. His football coach had such high hopes for him, he said he could be the next Walter Payton.
"He was an outgoing person. I never heard him say a bad word," said his girlfriend's mother, Elizabeth Neri.
"He was really nice," said his girlfriend, Maria Marinez. "He respected my mom and my family. We all loved him out here. It's just hard to believe he's not here no more."
As for living up to the legend of No. 34, his grandmother said, "Maybe in heaven, Maybe he can meet up with Walter in heaven."
Residents say the shooting was the latest in an ongoing fight between rival gangs. One other man was injured in the shooting, and was treated and released from Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.