Teen shot to death in Chicago store

October 4, 2008 3:33:27 PM PDT
Shots were fired outside a store on the city's Southeast Side Wednesday night. A 13-year-old boy was killed. Police are searching for the gunman. The victim, 13-year-old Sameere Conn died Thursday morning. He was a Chicago Public Schools student.

Conn was an eighth grade student at Bright Elementary School on the far Southeast Side. He died early Thursday morning at University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital. Neighbors blame the shooting on the ongoing fight between rival street gangs.

Family members say Sameere Conn was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Wednesday night, around 8:30, he was buying a snack inside a small grocery store, 2501 E. 106th St., after football practice, when someone outside started shooting. Police say a 25-year-old gang member had been shot in the leg. He ran into the store for cover, but the gunman continued shooting through the store's front window.

The 13-year-old was hit twice. He died at the hospital early Thursday morning. Conn lived in a public housing development down the street from the store. Thursday morning, family members and neighbors comforted each other as news of the shooting spread.

"I heard nothing good about him all day long. People are upset about what happened to him," said Elaine Mayo, victim's grandmother.

"He was fun, energetic, he had plenty of friends," said Dominique Mayo, victim's mother.

The boy lived with his mother, grandmother and younger brother. He was an 8th grader at Bright Elementary School where he played football. The school is across the street from his home.

A small memorial continues to grow outside the store where the boy was shot. Neighbors say the ongoing turf battle between two rival gangs is turning the area into a war zone.

"In the 31 years I've been here, this is the worst I've ever seen it," said Carolyn Pearson, neighbor.

The boy's father, William, doesn't live in the area. He says his son was an outstanding kid and there is no way he could have been the intended target.

"My son wasn't involved in any gangs. He was coming home from football practice. And he stopped in the store on his way home and lives right up the street here. And he was getting some chips. The guys came in shooting," said William Conn, victim's father.

The store has security cameras. The manager says they weren't working Wednesday night.

Police say it appears the shooting was gang-related, but say it's too early to tell if the teen was targeted.

Early Thursday, police said they were questioning a person of interest. So far, no one has been charged.


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