Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

A 13-year-old Illinois boy was shot and killed at a Chicago park playground on Friday night, Chicago officials said.

The shooting happened before 10 p.m. at Lerner Park in the West Ridge neighborhood’s 7000 block of North Sacramento Avenue, police said.

An off-duty Chicago police officer heard a “loud pop” and found 13-year-old Lavell Winslow, on a Lerner Park bench at 7000 N. Sacramento Ave. about 10 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2022. He was taken to the St. Francis Hospital in critical condition, but he later died.

Police are searching for the gunman and there’s no word on any arrests.

“His smile. I’m just going to miss him coming in and talking to me, laying his head on my shoulder,” the boy’s mother, Vanessa Winslow, told the Tribune on Saturday.

Lavell, the youngest of Vanessa Winslow’s five children, got good grades in school and was “extremely smart,” she said. The West Ridge Elementary School eighth grader had just been moved into an advanced math class.

He wanted to work in computer technology or construction when he graduated high school, his mother said. She could already see his bright future.

Lavell would have turned 14 years old a week before Christmas, Vanessa Winslow said. She’ll remember her son’s excitement around the holidays, she added.

“He was fun to be around. Social, kind, just a lovable young man. He had lots of friends that adored him because he was so kind and nice,” she said.

“My son was a great kid,” Lavell’s father, Jeffery Brown, said. “He had a real good heart.”

Lavell played basketball and football, his father said. He told his dad that he dreamed of becoming a hockey player some day. The 13-year-old could take a phone and make it do things Brown didn’t know were possible, Brown said.

Brown felt that his son had been affected by peer pressure and had begun to hang out with the wrong people while hiding that from his parents, a challenge he senses many children face.

“He had all the right opportunities. He had all the right support,” he added.

On Saturday morning, he said he was thinking about how much he loved his son.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born | buffygunner@illicitdeeds.com