The gunman who fatally shot 16-year-old Kejuan Thomas on a basketball court this week asked the teen and his stepbrother which one of them he should kill before opening fire, a family spokeswoman said Thursday.
"From my understanding, the stepbrother said that [the gunman] came from out of nowhere and he said 'Which one should I shoot?' like 'Which one of you all?'" said Tiffany J. "A heinous question... and then you chose Kejuan."
Family said Thomas was playing on the court near 97th and Yates on Chicago's South Side in broad daylight with his brother and stepbrother Wednesday.
He didn't live near Bradley Park but would go there to play pick-up games.
Tiffany J. said Thomas' brother left the game to walk his girlfriend to a bus stop, but as he was walking he heard a single gunshot.
"He said, 'I could have sworn I heard my brother scream,'" said Tiffany J.
Then, more gunshots rang out and he rushed to his brother's side.
"He went and he found his brother lying there," she said. "He said there was a pool of blood. He grabbed him, tried to pick him up. He said he was shot in the face, he was shot in the chest."
Witnesses said the gunman got out of a car and appeared to aim right at Thomas before opening fire.
Family members said the teen was not part of a gang and was simply enjoying his passion for basketball.
"This is a kid who was raised with morals and values that has had everything strippen and taken from him," Tiffany J. said.
Thomas would have been a junior at Tilden High School.
"It's a shame that good kids like that are the ones getting killed," Tony Gibson, Thomas' coach, said.
Gibson said Thomas was a good kid and he doesn't know why he may have been targeted.
"This kid was a good kid. He loved his parents, his parents love him, everybody loved him," he said.
Neighbors said the park has had problems before.
"We’re losing so many innocent children," said community activist Dawn Valenti.
"The devil is busy in this city," she added. "He’s very busy."
Thomas' family pleaded with witnesses for information and asked that the gunman turns himself in.
"If somebody knows something, just think about your loved ones," Tiffany J. said. "Think about your family, think about your niece, your nephew. Think about if it was you. Close your eyes and think about if it was you what would you want done?"
The family spokesomwan said her message is not just for Thomas, but for "every child in Chicago."
"We just want closure, peace," she said.
Detectives were investigating Thursday evening and no one was in custody.