Friends, Community Leaders in Mourning After Simeon Football Player Shot to Death Near School

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A local family is in mourning and searching for answers after a teen was gunned down after leaving his high school on Tuesday.

Jamari Williams, 15, was a football player at Simeon Career Academy on the city’s South Side. He was standing in front of a business in the 8300 block of South Holland Road on Tuesday afternoon when a person in a black vehicle fired shots at him, striking him in the chest.

The teen was rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

On Tuesday night, two teens who were friends with Williams released balloons in his honor near the scene.

“I grew up with him,” Mari Williams said. “It’s hard. It really is. I don’t know how I’ll deal with it, because we was really close.”

“He’s smart. He’s funny,” Kiya McCurry added. “He played around a lot, and he was outgoing.”

The girls say Williams loved to rap, and said that he loved playing football. Local activists who spoke with the teen’s family say that he hoped to use his passions to create a better life for himself and his loved ones.

“It’s unfortunate that he dreamed of getting his family out of the neighborhood riddled with violence,” community activist Ja’Mal Green said. “These kids are not hopeful that their own community….doing everything to hope that when they get older than they can get out of it, because they’re so traumatized on what they’re going through.”

Green is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the shooting within the next 24 hours, and says that Project Simeon is offering another $1,000 toward that goal.

Now, activists and family members are left to mourn the loss of another young life.

“He’s still a baby, and we’ve lost him due to negligence,” activist Andrew Holmes said.

In a statement, Chicago Teachers Union officials say that their “hearts go out” to the teen’s family.

“Our collective heart goes out to this student’s family and friends, as well as the Simeon school community, after another unspeakable tragedy impacting children in our city,” CTU officials said.

No arrests have been made in the case, and detectives are continuing to investigate.

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