Soldier visiting his family fatally shot

July 13, 2009 4:19:21 AM PDT
Simeon Sanders was killed in south suburban Harvey while out with his cousin. His family says he was innocently caught in crossfire. Sanders was a graduate of Thornton Township High School. He was studying engineering at Tennessee State University when he decided to join the Army to follow in his older sister's footsteps. The 21-year-old had just finished training and was assigned to Ft. Bragg.

Before shipping out, Sanders was home in Harvey to see his family and to do some recruitment work. He was shot to death in front of the Harvey Community Center.

"When has anybody ever solved anything with a gun? And if you want to fight, fight for people. Go join the military. Fight for our country. Do something good. Don't sit up here and kill each other. When is enough going to be enough?" Sander's sister, Meochia Thompson, said.

Sanders was the youngest of eight children. Growing up in Harvey, his family says, they were worried more about the violence at home than the danger Simeon would face in war.

"These young people do not value life here. This is someone who was willing to die for country, he has to die by guys out on the street, who aren't equipped to be soldiers," Thompson said.

Last Thursday night, Sanders and his cousin had just left a restaurant when they heard two people arguing. Shots rang out, and, police say, Sanders was caught in the crossfire.

Thompson says she had just spent the day before at the movies with her little brother. "After we went to the show and came back, I sent a text to say thanks for hanging out. He said, 'I'm your brother. Don't thank me,'" Thompson said.

Thompson says she will always remember her brother by his laugh. She says Simeon had been funny his whole life. As a joke, one day before a childhood class picture was taken, Simeon shaved his eyebrows. In Harvey, Thompson says, her brother defied all the odds.

"He did what the normal thing to do is. It's normal for you to go to school, to go to college. It's normal to fight for your country and be good to your family. All these other crazy things that these guys are doing out here, it is not normal. We need to quit acting like it is. It's not normal. He's the hero," Thompson said.

Harvey police say one suspect is in custody, and police are looking for a second person. Murder charges have yet to be filed. Sander's parents just missed seeing their son. They were visiting family in Mississippi and were planning to return to Harvey last Friday. Simeon was killed the night before.


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