Police say Darius Brown was playing basketball at Metcalfe Park Wednesday night near 43rd and State streets when someone in a passing car opened fire. He was taken to Comer Children's Hospital in Hyde Park, where he died. Police do not think Brown was the intended target. They do have a suspect or a motive in the case.
The four-door vehicle was traveling southbound on State Street near 43rd moments after Brown was shot. Police say the grainy surveillance tape was not able to yield a partial license plate number.
"We're hoping that maybe someone may have seen it, may have seen the vehicle passing, either passing them or passing after the incident occurred," said Chicago Police Sgt. Shawn McGavock at a news conference Thursday night.
Brown was an eighth grader at Holy Angels Catholic School. He played basketball for the school and two other leagues. He idolized Derrick Rose and a coach said Brown was a standout player who had the potential to go pro.
"I compare him to Derrick Rose because he is strong and he was fast and he had a hop," said Reginald Ballard, victim's friend.
"That's all he did was play basketball, every day," said the victim's David Smith.
Brown's basketball teammates and coach describe the left-handed point guard as a big talent with an even larger heart. "Can't stop thinking about him. Every five seconds I'm just wishing I'm in a dream, and that I'll just wake up," said the victim's teammate Quam Bosunmu.
"He was really, really, really good. And it's sad he is gone," said Rodes Hunt, Brown's basketball coach.
The victim's mother Stephanie Brown was preparing dinner at their Bronzeville hom around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday while her son was playing basketball in the park. His friends came to tell her Darius had been shot.
"My child got killed on the city streets of Chicago and I just don't even know what to say," she said.
The 13-year-old was hit in the neck. Witness Jermaine Guy said he heard at least 10 shots.
"I ran over to him, talked to him, helped him from not passing out. Kept calling his name, kept talking to him," Guy said.
"This has to stop. We need more protection with police officers just like they are protecting the 'L' stop, protect the basketball courts. Protect where our kids have to go out and play," said Valeria Hanks, neighbor.
A vigil was held in Metcalf Park for Brown Thursday evening. Neighborhood leaders passed out flyers, and announced an $8,000 reward for information in the case.
"I am so sick and tired of hearing people afraid to come forward and talk because they're afraid of what the shooter may do. Well it's time to make the shooter afraid of the community," said Fr. Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina's Catholic Church.
"I had an angel. I'm glad to have had him for 13 years," the victim's mother Stephanie Brown said. "If anybody knows about what happened to my son, please come forward."
Police say it's unclear how many people were inside this vehicle, and its make is unknown, although investigators believe it's a compact or mid-size car, which appears to have a sunroof.
"If you know who did this, tell. If you just have an idea or suspect, tell," said Alderman Pat Dowell, 3rd Ward.
Though investigators aren't speculating on a motive, some area residents blame a recent spike in gang related shootings. Police said Thursday night that it's unclear exactly what's causing that friction between rival gangs.