Charges could be filed Tuesday in killing of Janay McFarlane
By Frank Abderholden Sun-Times Media firstname.lastname@example.org February 18, 2013 8:50PM
Rhonda Jackson-Mitchell, 41, comforts her nephew, Calvin Burns, 19, of North Chicago, as they talk about the fatal shooting of Burns' girlfirend, Janay McFarlane, 18, who was killed while walking with him in February. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Medi
‘Baby, do you hear me?’
A dozen stuffed animals and more than a dozen balloons mark the spot in North Chicago where Janay McFarlane was shot to death Friday. Poster board was taped to the side of a garage where she died. Written on it were phrases such as “I’ll love you to the death of me” and “Baby, do you hear me?” There was an angel carving, a peace rock with a yellow-and-black bird, and some teddy bears held a rose and balloons.
Erick Frydrych, 42, lives next door to McFarlane’s aunt at the Marion Jones town homes, a block of public housing that is scheduled to be torn down not far from the shooting scene. He helped put up the memorial.
“She definitely will be missed. I lived next to her aunt for five years and seen her grow up. It’s a terrible loss,” he said. “I always said to her ‘Hey Janay, what da ya say!’ and she always responds in a monotone, ‘Hey Erick.’ It’s old to her, but she still played along.”
A nearby neighbor, Raymond Gonzales, 46, said the area is very dangerous.
“People are always walking through here to the liquor store,” he said. “Too many groups around here.
“I stay at home in the night. I’m sorry for her,” he said, pointing to the memorials on the garage.
Updated: March 20, 2013 6:44AM
Charges against two men could come Tuesday in the killing of Janay McFarlane, 18, who was gunned down in a North Chicago alley last Friday.
At North Chicago’s City Council meeting Monday, Mayor Leon Rockingham sought to assure McFarlane’s family: “We’re doing everything we can to bring these people to justice,” he said. “This was a senseless, brutal murder and one more proof that legislation has to be passed to get guns off the street.”
Also Monday, McFarlane’s boyfriend, Calvin Burns, who was with her when she was killed, talked about that night.
“I had a bad feeling,” Burns said.
He said McFarlane was finishing her purchase at a local convenience store when another neighborhood man “was muggin’ me,” making faces. “He never got anything, He just went up and talked to the guy at the counter. He was saying something to him and then he left out.”
As they walked outside with another friend and went around the corner to the alley, Burns saw a very large man with some facial hair standing near a black Pontiac Bonneville. “He jumped into the passenger seat and they came through the alley,” he said.
Shots rang out, about nine in all, as they all took off running. “Two shots went right by the side of my head,” said Burns, 19. Burns and McFarlane tried to escape down the alley with the friend, who was not named and is in a different gang than the one in the neighborhood.
“Then I see her laying there,” Burns said. He picked her head up “and blood was coming out of her head on the right side. Then I just put her head down,” fearful that he might make the injury worse, he said.
Burns’ aunt, Rhonda Jackson-Mitchell, who lives nearby, came out to help.
“I held her hand,” said Jackson-Mitchell. “She was talking to me saying, ‘Jayden, Jayden,’ and blood was coming from everywhere.” Jayden is McFarlane’s 4-month-old son.
“We’ll never see that pretty smile again. She just brightened up the room whenever she walked into the house,” Jackson-Mitchell said. “It needs to stop. Too many kids have guns. Where are they getting those guns?
“I make sure I have no guns in my house,” she said. “I don’t believe in guns. They’re killing too many young people, babies.”
Janay’s father, Joseph McFarlane, walked the alley Monday afternoon after coming back from Chicago. He lives in Beach Park.
“I had to walk where my baby walked,” he said, noting that he had talked to Burns about the night she died. “I just want the people who got my baby to get caught.”
He talked to police, but said they couldn’t say much except they had two persons of interest in custody.
Two days before Janay McFarlane was murdered, Jackson-Mitchell said her house was “sprayed” with gunfire in another incident.
She told Rockingham about her fear and frustration on Monday as she gave him a tour of her bullet-riddled kitchen and second floor.
“They were standing right there in the alley,” she said showing the mayor and visitors five bullet holes on the first floor and three bullet holes on the second floor.
Rockingham hugged Burns and Jackson-Mitchell inside the house and participated in prayers outside their home. Asked about the investigation, he said, “We may have something today or tomorrow.”
Gurnee Pastor Joshua Randolph, 36, led prayers outside by the crime scene. He is part of CeaseFire, a group that includes former gang members who are trying to bring peace to the streets.
“We pray you bring light to this darkness. Give them the strength to make it through these hard times,” he said as everyone held hands. “We pray for this city, bring peace to this city.”