Mario Butler was hanging out with friends when he was shot Saturday night. Police say the shooting may have been accidental.
The teen is from south suburban Calumet City. He was staying with his aunt in Harvey. The shooting happened on a street corner there.
Overcome with grief Sunday, Latora Arnold said she will always remember her son as a 14-year-old with a big heart.
"He had a loving and caring spirit," said his mother, Latora Arnold. "He helped others a lot. He always asked questions…why, when, what."
Friends say the tragedy happened as the well-liked young man spent part of his summer break visiting friends at his aunt's south suburban Harvey home.
Neighbors said they didn't hear gunfire but saw Mario playing on the sidewalk with three friends just before officers responded to calls about a shooting near 149th and Morgan streets.
"I thought it was car accident," witness Lloyd Bowman said. "I didn't know what really happened. When I looked, I saw a kid on the ground."
The teen was pronounced dead at an area hospital.
No one else was hurt.
"My momma was on the way to get him," said Mario's aunt, Onnyse Clay. "She called but he didn't answer. My sister called and said he was shot."
The death almost proved to be too much for some who openly grieved.
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate and say Mario's slaying was definitely not gang related, but possibly the result of an accidental shooting.
Relatives say Mario was told to stay away from guns. They want to know which teen had the weapon and who he got it.
"Somebody needs to speak up and say whose gun it was," said Mario's great uncle, Richard Arnold. "How did they get a hold to the gun?"
Friends say Mario was looking forward to high school after graduating from eighth grade in June.
They said he was a good student, loved math and hoped to one day be a professional basketball player.