(STMW) — A 17-year-old youth was gunned down Friday near a park named after slain King College Prep student Hadiya Pendleton — one of four killings in the city as the Fourth of July weekend got off to a violent start.
The teen — identified by authorities as Vonzell Banks of the 4500 block of South Prairie — and a 19-year-old man were standing outside Hadiya Pendleton Park in the 4300 block of South King about 4:45 p.m., when a vehicle approached and someone inside opened fire, police said.
Banks, a Dunbar Vocational High School junior, was playing basketball with his older brother, Vinny, and some friends when he was shot, his aunt, LaShanda Childs, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He was a loving child, getting ready to be a senior at high school,” Childs said. “He was going to start a summer job on Monday. He was very excited about it.”
Childs described Banks as a “church boy,” who loved playing the drums and attended Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer.
Like Pendleton — in whose honor the park was renamed just two months ago — Banks was shot in the back. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:31 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The older teen was shot in the right foot and was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized.
Pendleton — a promising sophomore at King College who became a symbol of Chicago’s gun violence problem when she was killed just a week after performing at events for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration — was shot Jan. 29, 2013, while hanging out with friends at another park.
Nathaniel Pendleton, Hadiya’s father, on Friday told the Chicago Sun-Times that he’d heard about the shooting near his daughter’s park. He said it makes him think the city isn’t doing enough to stop violence.
“The thing is, it just seems the more we try to do good, it’s turning around on us,” Pendleton said.
Pendleton said he would try to reach out to the 17-year-old’s family in the coming days, to offer support.
“They are probably trying to grasp the reality that their loved one is gone right now,” Pendleton said. “They probably wouldn’t even know who I was right now.”
Police said the victims were likely not the intended targets of the shooting.
Earlier Friday, a man was killed and a woman was wounded in a South Side Washington Heights neighborhood drive-by shooting.
The two were walking in the alley in the 9100 block of South Ashland about 1:20 a.m. when someone in a passing white van opened fire, police said.
Grover Tate, 47, of the 1500 block of West 95th Street, was shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
The woman, 43, was shot in the abdomen and buttocks and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where her condition had stabilized, police said
A 26-year-old man was killed in the same block he lived in just after midnight Friday in the South Side Back of the Yards neighborhood.
The man, identified as Jose Hernandez, was sitting on a porch at 12:05 a.m. in the 4800 block of South Justine when another male walked up and shot him in the back, authorities said.
He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later, the medical examiner’s office said.
An officer at the scene said the shooting — the second on that block in about nine hours — may have stemmed from a conflict involving the La Raza street gang. Neighbors said they heard about four to six gunshots.
The holiday weekend’s first homicide happened Thursday evening in the Little Village neighborhood on the Southwest Side, police said.
About 6:25 p.m., Joseph Gutierrez was riding a bicycle in the 2700 block of South Karlov when a gunman ran up and shot him repeatedly in the upper body, authorities said.
Gutierrez, of the 6200 block of South Kenneth, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:06 p.m., the medical examiner’s office said.
Police said the shooting may have been gang-related.
Last year, 82 people were shot and 14 killed in Chicago during the 4th of July holiday weekend.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2015. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)