Chicago Violence

‘Called Before His Time': Friends, Family Remember Young Dancer Killed in Shooting at Block Party

Lewis Funches, 22, was an intern in District 15 and hoped to become a Chicago police officer.

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A young man who loved to dance and wanted to become a police officer was one of dozens of shooting victims during a recent violent weekend in Chicago.

"Everything about him was good," said Nathaniel Body, a father figure to Lewis Funches. "He didn’t deserve that."

Funches, 22, was at a block party on Saturday, June 27, when he was shot in the head near 31st and Rhodes. It is believed he was not the intended target. Funches' friend, Indigo Johnson, was there.

"It was really scary. It was a couple people who were actually shot that night. I saw it all happen," said Johnson. "That shouldn’t have happened to him."

Multiple people were shot. Funches and another man were killed and two others injured. Funches spent a week in a coma at University of Chicago Medical Center before he passed away on Friday. His mother was by his side through it all.

"He was very cheerful, very outgoing. Loves to have fun. Loves to smile. He was a leader not a follower," said Tenika Blackman.

Blackman said her son loved life and had a smile that could light up a room. He was passionate about dancing and a member of Ultimate Threat Dance Corp., a non-profit group that performs at events and competitions.

"He loved it. He was very dedicated," said Jasmine Harris, Funches' cousin who also performs with the group. "He was always eager just to learn more."

Funches had another passion, too. After interning for two summers in District 15, learning the ins and outs of the department, he wanted to become a Chicago police officer.

"He was like my personal intern. He actually set up everything. He helped me build the basketball rims," remembers Officer William Martinez. "We bonded that summer."

Officer Martinez encouraged Funches to join the force. He was on the right track, had finished his paperwork and passed the necessary tests. He was just waiting for a spot to open at the academy, according to his family.

"He had everything all lined up. I know he would have made it. Not only did the department lose someone good, the city of Chicago lost someone," said Martinez.

Martinez is the youth liaison officer in Austin and works with young people often. This year has been particularly difficult. He had also coached Amaria Jones in a youth basketball league. The 13-year-old girl was fatally shot in the neck by a stray bullet while inside her Austin home Father's Day weekend.

"Two personal relationships I built up. [You] watch them get better every day. Then you get that call," said Martinez.

Those who knew Funches best say his future was bright, and he didn't deserve this senseless tragedy.

"He was too good of a person. He was called before his time. I feel that all this violence needs to stop. It needs to stop," said Body.

According to the Chicago Police Department, no one is in custody, and the investigation is ongoing.

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