School, family mourn Dolton honor student

May 25, 2010 (DOLTON, Ill.)

Destin Hernandez, 15, was a freshman honor student at Thornridge High School in Dolton. On Tuesday, grief counselors headed to the school to help students deal with the death.

Dolton police say two groups of young people were targeting each other when Destin got caught in between about 2:40 p.m. Monday near Sibley and Oak. A man in his 20s was also hurt.

Destin's father, mother and aunt showed pictures of the teen Tuesday.

"He touched people in ways that you can't imagine," said Jacqueline Henry, Destin's aunt.

Destin was also an aspiring model and actor. He recently wrote a Mother's Day card his aunt read aloud.

"I love you so much and I don't know what I'd do without you. Happy Mother's Day. Love, Destin," Henry read.

"At this time, we have no indication of this or have anything with gang activity. We're going to put that to rest for the family. Right now, we don't have anything to indicate as a gang activity," said Dolton Police Chief Robert Fox.

Dolton police beefed up patrols and performed security screenings at Thornridge Tuesday, which is rare for the school.

Police say they are looking at security tapes from a nearby fast food restaurant for any images of the suspects.

"When [it's] a student like this, who is striving to make something of himself, it is a tragedy," said Michael Winston, former principal.

Winston stopped by the Hernandez home to pay his respects Monday evening. Destin's mother seemed appreciative but silent.

Besides getting straight As, Destin also enjoyed art.

"It is tragic. He is a young man, minding his own business, going to school. He did nothing to nobody," said Lt. Harry Blaundin of the Dolton Police Department.

"He is a wonderful young man, very imaginative, very artistic," said Henry.

"We are still in disbelief. We're disillusioned at this particular time, but his spirit still lives with us," said Kenneth Cole, Destin's stepfather.

Police say they believe they know who fired the shots but have not made any arrests.

The intersection where the shooting took place is usually crowded with students from Thornridge walking to a restaurant to get something to eat after school. Destin was shot passing through the parking lot of Baba's Steak and Lemonade as the two groups fired shots across Sibley.

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