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15-year-old boy killed, 14-year-old wounded outside basketball tournament in Chicago: ‘He got hit. He was trying to breathe’

James Hawthorne, 35, talks on his phone while police work the scene where a person was shot near the Garfield Park Gold Dome Field House on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 in Chicago, Ill. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Kenwon Park was running, then suddenly fell.

His friend Kimmy stopped, knelt down and tried to talk to the 15-year-old. The teenage girl watched Kenwon struggle to breathe as chaos erupted around them.

They had been at the fieldhouse in Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side for a basketball tournament when a fight broke out around 9 p.m. Thursday, according to Chicago police. As police dispersed the crowd, gunfire exploded outside.

Kimmy, who only wanted to give her first name, saw teens run in all directions, including her friend. “He got hit,” she said. “He was trying to breathe.”

Kenwon suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital. Another boy, 14, was hit in the abdomen and was in serious condition at Stroger.

An outpouring of grief sprung up on a Facebook page for Kenwon, with dozens of friends posting remembrances, some noting that he would have turned 16 on Saturday.

Police took a boy into custody, possibly between 11 and 13 years old, according to Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. His role in the shooting was not clear. A gun was recovered.

About a dozen police cars converged on Garfield Park. Officers closed off Central Park Boulevard for several blocks and strung crime scene tape around the street in front of the domed fieldhouse.

Crowds lingered around the perimeter even as officers tried to clear out the park. A man yelled into a megaphone criticizing the city’s response to violence in the East Garfield Park neighborhood. A father paced back and forth, looking for his daughter who had attended the game.

Nyerere Logan, who lives in the neighborhood, was walking his 2-year-old daughter in her stroller nearby when he heard the gunshots. He saw teens flee as patrol cars rolled in, one by one.

“You can’t even walk your child out here,” Logan said, frustrated.

His daughter, wearing pink hair clips and a rainbow-striped dress, squirmed in her stroller while her father watched police search the street for shell casings.

“Kids are dying for no reason,” Logan said. “You got to be in a richer neighborhood for something to happen? We all people.”

After the attack, officers radioed to prepare Stroger Hospital for possible large crowds outside the emergency room.

As family members received news of the 15-year-old’s death, some fell to their knees outside the hospital. Others swayed as they stood and gasped for breath.

“It ain’t real. It ain’t real,” a woman repeated.

She collapsed, and a nurse rolled a stretcher outside.


© 2018 Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.