A 21-year-old man died Saturday after throwing himself in front of open gunfire in an attempt to shield his mother from the bullets, according to family members.
James Jones and his mother, Alicia Jones, were on their front porch Saturday afternoon in South Chicago when a man walked out of a gangway and fired in their direction, police said.
That is when the 21-year-old made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his mother, throwing himself in front of her, saving her life by shielding her from the array of bullets headed in her direction. By saving her life, he lost his own.
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“My sister just so happened to be coming out the front door,” said Dietra Luckett, Jones’ aunt. “He took his body and put it on top of her body. He covered her body.”
Alicia Jones, 46, was critically wounded but survived. She underwent surgery at Advocate Christ Medical Center. James was dead at the scene, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
She knows her son saved her life, Luckett said, but doesn’t know he’s gone. Her sister said she’s been asking for him, saying, “Where’s James?”
The shooting happened around noon in the 8400 block of South Colfax in South Chicago.
Luckett said her nephew had just gotten home from buying loose cigarettes at a neighbor’s home. She said while he was there, someone “said something to him,” but James Jones “just rolled off on his bike and didn’t think nothing of it.”
When he got home, someone had parked a van in the alley and walked up to him and “said some more words,” according to Luckett. She said her nephew didn’t pay him any attention and tried to walk inside.
At that moment, as his mom was coming outside, the man opened fire, Luckett said.
Alicia Jones knew she had been shot and asked relatives to get her son off her, Luckett said, not realizing he was dead.
Her sister said family members don’t want to tell her yet her son’s dead while she’s still recovering in the hospital.
Her son, though no angel — relatives said he sold drugs, and court records show he has a criminal record and was on parole after being sentenced to prison for attempted burglary — saved his mother.
Police said the shooting was gang-related. They haven’t made an arrest.
Alicia Jones had four children. Now, three of her kids have died as a result of violence, according to her sister.
In 2006, Alicia Jones’ daughter, Antionette Means, was killed by a robber who emptied the cash drawer of the KFC where Means worked, then shot her for no apparent reason.
And in 1994, her 4-year-old son, Curtis Jones Jr. was killed when gang members threw a Molotov cocktail into a house, hoping to kill a rival gang member, prosecutors said then.
James Jones was only 5 months old at the time. He was saved when a cousin dropped him into a relative’s arms from the second story of the home.
At the scene of the shooting Saturday, someone left a handmade note to James Jones. It said only, “I love you.”