Visiting teen shot, killed in Chicago alley

July 16, 2010 3:18:53 PM PDT
A teenager who recently moved from Chicago to get away from the violence was shot and killed after returning to visit his family.Jeremiah Sterling, 16, was gunned down while walking with a friend in Chicago's West Pullman community on the Far South Side.

Police officials say, since Friday morning, detectives have been talking to a person of interest in connection with Sterling's murder.

The 16-year-old high school student had been a member of the "Crucial Conflict" dance group and a former the Jesse White Tumblers.

As officers continue their investigation, the teen was being remembered as a talented performer whose passion was music and dance.

Grieving mother Lawanda Sterling was comforted Friday by both her family members and her dying son's last words that friends say he uttered.

"He said, 'Tell my other I love her' because he knew that I wasn't going to be able to handle it," LaWanda Sterling said.

Jeremiah Sterling was murdered Friday in an alley near his mother's home near 115th Street and May.

"To see him go is hard to believe because it's hurtful," said Marchanda Smith, victim's friend.

Friends say it was around 3:45 p.m. Thursday that they saw Jeremiah Sterling and a second teen running from a garage, with a gunman in pursuit, after first hearing several shots ring out.

"One of the victims got away. He ran to my door, and I let him in, and I called the police," said Greg Taylor, a neighborhood resident.

But Sterling didn't make it to safety. A witness says he fell to the ground after being shot in the arm.

"That boy shot him several, several times, and he stood over him, and he stood over shot him in his head. This is broad daylight," an unidentified witness told ABC7 Chicago.

"This is the last thing any parent would ever want to do, to make plans for their 16-year-old child," said Dr. Odel Sterling, the victim's father.

The popular teen was a former Fenger High School student who came back to Chicago a few weeks ago to visit with his family. He had been sent to live with his older brother in Denver, Colo. last year after gang members reportedly began harassing him.

"He always kept a smile on his face. He was always around here dancing, footworking," said Asia McBride, the victim's friend.

As stuffed animals, messages, and other symbols of grief remained Friday afternoon in tribute to the teen -- whom friends called Miah The Great-- anti-violence activists are, once again, calling on parents and neighborhoods to come together to fight gangs and guns.

"We have to stop this "no snitch" policy. Tell what you know, what you see, what you hear," said Iris Edwards of Roseland Ceasefire.


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