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Mother loses second son to violence; 1 of 9 killed, 17 wounded

Crime tape remains seen where four men began physically fighting near El BurriFeliz restaurant 3200 block West Cermak Road. A

Crime tape remains at the seen where four men began physically fighting near El Burrito Feliz restaurant in the 3200 block of West Cermak Road. A 40-year-old-man was shot in the back and is listed in critical condition at Mount Sini Hospital. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 3, 2012 6:17AM

Nearly 20 years ago, gunfire left Jamel Shepard a paraplegic.

On Saturday, as he sat in his wheelchair on the front porch of the family’s Austin home, Shepard found himself in the line of fire.

This time it killed him.

His 61-year-old mother, Margaret Shepard, said her son was outside visiting with at least one other man just after noon Saturday when the shooting started outside in the 4900 block of West Washington Boulevard. She was in the kitchen, unloading groceries, when she heard two gunshots “and they were really close.”

“I thought ‘oh my goodness, what is going on here?’ ” Shepard said, noting that she walked through the family’s apartment toward the front of the residence. “As I walked through the dining room, I could hear three more shots.”

Shepard said her son’s girlfriend came running in to the house amid the chaos screaming about the shootings.

“I told her to call paramedics,” Shepard recalled on Sunday, a day after her 35-year-old son was killed.

From what she was able to piece together from Jamel Shepard’s girlfriend, the gunman walked up to the front porch where the men were sitting.

Jamel Shepard asked another man sitting on the porch “Who is that” when the shooting started, Margaret Shepard said, recalling what her son’s girlfriend told her.

“She said (Jamel) had threw himself out of the chair” to dodge the bullets, Margaret Shepard said. But it was too late.

Meantime, the second man “attacked” the gunman, running at him and yelling “no.”

He, too, was shot and killed.

Shepard said she didn’t know the injured man.

But authorities say a second man shot and killed there has been identified as Darnell Walker, 55, of the 7100 block of South Euclid Avenue.

Usually smiling, never complaining, Jamel Shepard was a fixture in the neighborhood and had lots of friends, his mother said.

So she doesn’t think it’s likely he was the intended target.

“He has friends that come and take him on and off the porch — we don’t have a ramp — so he has friends who take him around. These are kids who grew up in my house because they’ve been around them. So I said to them ‘Is there anything going on?’ They assured me — nobody’s angry with him,” a grieving Margaret Shepard said.

She said her son was shot and injured when he was just 17, after he was standing near a group of girls fighting near a West Side school. A grandmother came out and fired a shot in the air to stop the shooting, as Shepard recalls it, but her son was hit by the bullet and left a paraplegic.

While Jamel Shepard lived at home with her and she cared for him — Margaret Shepard said it’s more accurate to say they looked after each other.

“First thing in the morning, he’d come in and make sure I was up for work. And I’d make him his coffee,” Margaret Shepard said.

They’d talk over the news and he was lamenting the shooting death of 7-year-old Heaven Sutton as she sat with her mother in front of their Austin neighborhood home Wednesday night selling candy.

“He got an email that said ‘Common Sense has died.’ And we would talk about that.”

This is the second son Margaret Shepard’s lost to violence in Chicago.

About six years ago, son Gary Thomas was stabbed to death in his South Side home by an intruder.

That case was never solved.

And no arrests have been made as of Sunday in Jamel’s killing, she said.

She said that as a God-fearing woman who raised all five of her children to be the same she is relying on faith to get her through this.

“I’m not bitter, I don’t hate anyone. The lord says ‘vengeance is mine’ and that’s what I know and that’s what I’ve taught my children.”

With homicides up 35 percent this year police have been recalibrating to stem the tide of violence. But the shootings continue during these warm summer weekends.

In all, nine people had been killed and 17 others — including a 3-year-old boy — have been wounded in shootings through the city from Friday to Sunday night.

The most recent fatality happened about 10:15 p.m. Sunday when 17-year-old Lenard Trust, of the 800 block of 45th Street, was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head near his home.

About 8:12 p.m., in the 4100 block of West Van Buren. Myrion Currie, 19, of Mississippi, was killed in the in the incident, according his family. A 15-year-old also was critcally wounded in the shooting, officials said.

In another shooting, just before 1 a.m. Sunday when a 22-year-old man was gunned down in the 3100 block of West Van Buren. Demarcus Ervin, of the 200 block of North Lockwood Avenue, was shot in the head and died at the scene, according to Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. A 27-year-old man and 21-year-old woman also were wounded in the shooting.

Others killed, include:

—John Kouzious, 33, of the 3000 block of South Kedvale Avenue, and Jose

Galvin, of the 4200 block of West 26th Street, gunned down in a vehicle that

then crashed into a tree about 2:43 a.m. Saturday.

—William Cook, 19, of the 5200 block of South Talman Avenue, shot in the

chest in his home in the 5200 block of South Talman Avenue about 2:30 a.m.


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