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Boy, 15, killed on South Side, had moved to California to escape violence that claimed his father’s life

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Updated: July 2, 2013 7:49AM



Patrick Sykes moved to California to escape the same violent streets in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood where gunfire took his father’s life two years ago.

Patrick, 15, returned to Chicago last week to visit family and friends. He was here for just five days before he was shot and killed Thursday a block away from his childhood home.

Relatives said a gunman emerged from a gangway about 12:30 p.m. and opened fire on Sykes, who was standing outside the home of a family friend in the 1700 block of West 85th Street.

He was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene, Chicago Police said. A neighbor who asked not to be named said Patrick had been shot in the head but was still breathing when ambulances arrived.

Patrick moved to Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., six months ago to live with his aunt, who is a social worker, said his mother, Taminicka Smith, a preschool teacher. He had just finished his freshman year of high school and arrived in Chicago last Friday to spend time with his mother and four siblings.

“They say you can’t save them all, but I was determined to save one,” Smith said.

Before he moved to California, Patrick had moved in with relatives near Chicago and Pulaski and in the Humboldt Park neighborhood for a year because his mother thought it was safer place to grow up. He attended Wells High School before he moved to California midyear.

“Before the summer was out, he was going back to California. He was staying here for a couple of weeks,” Smith said.

Patrick’s father, Terrell Sykes, was shot and killed in an alley near 85th and Marshfield in October 2010, about a half mile from Thursday’s shooting.

On Thursday , Smith was overcome with grief because her son met the same fate.

“He didn’t think he would be a target because this is not the lifestyle he lived. He had no [gang] affiliations. . . . He wanted to go back to California, finish school, go to Job Corps and pick up a trade. He wanted to be a fashion designer. He wanted to design shoes. Patrick loved shoes, clothes, period,” she said.

Patrick enjoyed going to the Magnificent Mile to shop and was good student who loved video games, jokes, girls and basketball, relatives said.

“He always thought he could beat me in basketball,” his older brother, Leon Anderson said solemnly.

Family members lamented the gradual decline of the neighborhood.

“It’s crazy, you can’t even come outside and just hang out. When I was growing up, we were able to come outside and stay outside on the porch till three or four in the morning, now every time you look up it’s somebody getting shot, somebody dying,” Smith said.

No one was in custody late Thursday.



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