UPDATED 08/04/11 5:01 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – A 13-year-old boy playing basketball with his friends in Bronzeville was shot and killed Wednesday night.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Darius Brown was playing a game of pickup basketball at about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday at Metcalfe Park, in the 4200 block of South State Street, just two blocks from his home.
Police said someone pulled up in a vehicle and opened fire. Darius was shot in the neck. Police said the boy does not appear to have been the intended target, but so far they don’t have any suspects.
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Darius was taken to the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s hospital in critical condition. He was pronounced dead early Thursday morning.
His mother, Stephanie Brown said that police are looking at surveillance video from a camera across the street from the park, hoping they can zoom in on the vehicle involved in the shooting.
“I never thought, ever, ever, ever, ever that my baby would be gunned down playing basketball,” she said.
Darius was a rising basketball star, about to enter the 8th grade at Holy Angels Elementary School.
“I was notified by some of my neighbors that play ball with him every day. They ran from the park and told me that my son had been shot,” Stephanie Brown said.
She showed off all the trophies and medals he won over the years, saying that basketball was his passion since the age of 5.
“I just find comfort in the fact that he was doing something that he loved to do,” she added.
Darius was the youngest of four children. He was closest to his older brother.
“It’s really hard, it’s really hard. He was the youngest, he’s the baby. You know, he’s greatly missed and loved; and not just my family, but just his coaches, their families, friends. This touched so many people’s lives,” his mother said.
The family said they’ll remember him as a free spirit and a fun, loving kid.
“You know what, it’s not anything that you can make sense of because you just want to know what kind of person would do such a thing to kids,” his mother said. “And it was obviously children up there playing, so it’s like, I don’t know anybody that would do something like that.”
Some friends of Darius’ who were playing basketball with him when he was shot said Thursday that they didn’t know what was happening until it was too late.
They said they come to the park everyday, but it doesn’t look the same to them anymore after Darius was killed.
Instead of playing hoops on Thursday, they were signing a ‘rest in peace’ card for Darius.
“We were just playing basketball and, out of nowhere, just gunshots start going off and everyone ran. I hid behind the tree,” said Darius’ friend Oakley, who didn’t want to give his last name.
“I didn’t know he got hit,” Oakley said. “He actually let everybody know he got hit. He yelled it out loud. No one actually noticed it at first, because everybody else was just trying to get away.”
Adults who worked with the young victim in an after-school program felt compelled to come to Metcalfe Park and do something.
“He was truly an all-around good person, team player, motivator. He did everything he could to lift up any and everybody that he was around,” said Tiffany Thomas. “To see something just tragically happen to such a great person is a terrible loss.”
Thomas ran into Darius just a few hours before he was shot. He was buying cat food and talking about his future.
“He was just talking about the first day of school. It’s coming up, it’s on the 26th. He was getting his clothes ready for back to school,” Thomas said.
As of Thursday evening, police had not made any arrests in the case and could offer little information about the suspects, other than the car might be white or light-colored.