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‘There is no safe place’: Mom of teen killed after basketball game

Tyrone LawsMorgan Park High School student was fatally shot Jan. 16 2013 ouside Chicago State University after Simeon-Morgan Park basketball

Tyrone Lawson, a Morgan Park High School student, was fatally shot on Jan. 16, 2013, ouside Chicago State University after a Simeon-Morgan Park basketball game.

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Updated: February 19, 2013 2:56PM

The mother of Tyrone Lawson II thought her only son would be safe at Chicago State University’s gym on the South Side.

If the 17-year-old Morgan Park High School student wanted to go somewhere she thought was dangerous, Pam Wright said she and his stepfather, Gregory Young, would put their foot down. And she said her son respected their views — he never sneaked off without permission.

But Chicago State’s gym was considered neutral ground for warring gangs, she said. Lawson had already been to two or three high school games there, and his mother and stepfather would pick him up when they ended. So they let him go to the game Wednesday between high school basketball powerhouses Morgan Park and Simeon Career Academy. And they waited at home for his call.

It never came.

Officials said Lawson was fatally shot multiple times near a parking lot outside the gym. Wright and Young said they learned of the shooting when relatives contacted by authorities came to their door. Police arrested two people and recovered a weapon.

“There is no safe place,” Wright said in her living room Thursday morning as she spoke about her late son, who she added loved the outdoors and left behind “devastated” friends.

The shooting happened after the game around 9:20 p.m. on the campus at 95th Street and King Drive, according to a Chicago Police source.

A fight broke out at the end of the game between a couple of players from both teams, and Chicago Public Schools security quickly broke it up.

CPS routinely uses CSU facilities as a “neutral setting” for student athletic events, according to a statement from Chicago State.

Inside the gym, security was tight. Spokeswoman Mirielle Sainvilus said via email officers searched everyone entering the game for weapons — including the teams and the media.

The university said in its statement it was “deeply saddened by the tragic shooting death” and noted it was the first of its kind on the campus.

“Arrests have been made and university officials are awaiting the outcome of a full investigation to learn details about the shooting incident,” it said.

Wright and Young said Lawson was an honor roll student who had all kinds of pets — snakes, iguanas and turtles among them — and would have friends visit often. She planned to get him “any kind of old car” this spring once he secured his driver’s license and his graduation.

Lawson’s mother said she always tried to get her son’s day off to a positive start, having daily talks with him as she drove him to school. And wary that tragedy could strike at any time, she’d always tell him to be careful and have a nice day.

“That’s just in case we don’t see each other,” Wright said. “It doesn’t have to be something happens to him. It could be something happens to me. And I did that yesterday.”

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