2 CPS students dead in Church's shooting

December 28, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Two Chicago Public School students were killed and five others injured at a Church's Chicken on 66th and Halsted in the Englewood neighborhood.

The gunman got into an argument with a man outside the restaurant and chased him inside.

The mother of 16-year-old Jawan Ross could barely speak about her son as she and her family walked into the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office to identify Ross. The Robeson High school student, who dreamed of being an NBA player, was one of two people gunned down at the fast-food restaurant.

"I loved him," said Georgia Anne Jackson, Ross' grandmother.

"I just wanted to give him a better life than he had. That's it. Not a whole lot of opportunities for him to get away from the situations he was in," said Tenile Jackson, Ross' cousin.

The other victim, 17-year-old Dantril Brown, was a student at Prosser Career Academy who enjoyed basketball and music.

"He was a loving young man who did things for his mother, his family and everyone," said Wayne Williams, uncle.

Police say the shooting started after an argument between two men outside escalated with one man chasing the other into the restaurant and opening fire.

Relatives gathered at the restaurant Wednesday night to honor their loved ones.

"He's not going to graduate - my baby - my dreams - they took my dreams away from me," Regina Brown, Dantril Brown's mother, said Wednesday night.

"It's hard, and it's hard and they don't know it's hard when you take someone else's kid from them. They don't know how a person feels," said Willamae Jackson, mother of Jawan Ross.

Ross's relatives and friends lit candles and said a prayer for him Wednesday night.

"He [was] not even a man yet. He was still a young man, still in school, and somebody takes his life out there like a joke," said Michael Howard, uncle.

After the vigil for Ross, loved ones of Dantril Brown made their pilgrimage to the restaurant and added to the growing memorial of candles and teddy bears. Brown had dreamed of becoming a chef.

Asked what she would say to the person who had taken her son's life, Regina Brown said: "A person like you just need to be prayed for. I'm not mad."

"I was actually in the store with my brother, and we were getting something to eat," said one victim, 17, who asked not to be identified. He was shot in the thigh and grazed in the arm. "I just heard shots, and me and my brother started running, and we all fell over the dude that got shot before us - right before me... I got shot in my leg."

He says he didn't know the gunman or hear the argument. He says he's praying for two things.

"Change in the neighborhood and find the killer, find the shooter," he said.

Police said Wednesday they were looking for one or two gunmen but had not released a description. They also have video surveillance of the crime in progress, according to reports, and are expected to use that video to identify the suspects and look for clues.

It remained unclear Wednesday night, police said, if the intended target was among the seven people who were shot, but relatives of the two teenagers who were killed say their loved ones were innocent bystanders.

"He was a fair kid, but I'm just not understanding - why is all this violence going on around here?" said Willamae Jackson.

The Church's Chicken remained closed Wednesday night and it was unclear when it might reopen.

Relatives of Jawan Ross said that his funeral service will be held January 5th at New Beginnings Church on the South Side.

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