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17-year-old accused of slaying other teen after handshake


Keon Tolliver

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It started with a handshake — but within seconds an encounter between two 17-year-olds in South Chicago ended in a deadly hail of close-range gunfire, authorities say.

Just moments after Roemello Golden shook hands with Wendell Phillips Academy student Keon Tolliver Wednesday night, Tolliver pulled out a handgun and fatally shot Golden 11 times, assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Bob Groebner said in court Sunday.

Golden, who lived just a block north of the murder scene in the 8800 block of South Brandon, was shot in the head, neck, chest, arms and legs, and was declared dead soon after, Groebner said. A sidewalk tribute of dozens of bottles of Grey Goose vodka, condom packets and handwritten notes of condolence still marked the spot where Golden fell Sunday afternoon.

Tolliver, who lives with his grandmother in the 8700 block of South Exchange, was with another man when he approached Golden and two other men who were talking with Golden Wednesday night, Groebner said.

He escaped to the south on foot, but was identified by two witnesses as the gunman, and was arrested in the South Commons neighborhood on Friday, the prosecutor added.

Wearing Pac-Man pajama pants with the words “eat me” printed on them in court Sunday, Tolliver was denied bail by Judge Israel Desierto.

Despite his young age, Tolliver is the father of two children, his attorney said. He has multiple tattoos showing an allegiance to the Latin Kings street gang, according to a police report.

He has two juvenile convictions for unlawful use of a weapon and has spent time in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, Groebner said.

Golden’s family declined to comment Sunday.

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