Samuel Walker Sr. had been preparing for the funeral of his teenage son, Samuel Walker Jr., who was gunned down last Friday in East Garfield Park.
Now his family must decide whether to hold a joint memorial instead.
On Thursday, the elder Walker was shot to death in a Humboldt Park gangway — just two days before his 13-year-old son was to be laid to rest.
Walker just had his hair cut, and was on his way to get a cigarette, when he came across his killer near Division and Keeler about 9 a.m., those close to him said.
Authorities said Walker, a member of the Vice Lords street gang, bolted north up Keeler and into a gangway, attempting to flee the gunman, who chased him on foot.
Neighborhood resident Gail Reynolds, 54, said she was sitting on a bench beneath a tree when she saw a man run past on the other side of the street, followed by the crackle of gunfire. Walker was shot in the head and torso. He died at the scene, authorities said.
“That’s a cold motherf – - – - – who wants to shoot a motherf- – - – - in the morning,” Reynolds said. “I’m glad he didn’t shoot me.”
By noon, hundreds of onlookers gathered to mourn. An eerie silence crept over the crowd when authorities hoisted Walker’s body off the driveway and into a police wagon to be taken away.
Family members were upset and complained that his body had been lying outside more than three hours.
“Ants and s – - – are crawling all over him,” one relative said.
Later, firefighters hosed down the gangway, flushing Walker’s blood out to the street.
Family and friends gave conflicting accounts on whether Walker was a gang member. He had a criminal record, with convictions for weapons and stolen goods charges, according to court records. He also was facing an April 2014 charge of unlawful solicitation of a business and was charged with possession of marijuana in July.
Despite differing accounts about his gang affiliation, those close to him agreed the father of five was a “good person” who was well-known throughout the neighborhood — the kind guy who would keep an eye out for folks who lived on the block.
They noted that Walker was a rapper who put out his own CDs. He also loved hot wings, but was a terrible cook, said Monica Butler, 34, an ex-girlfriend, who remained close to Walker and saw him Thursday before he was killed. Butler insisted that Walker was not in a gang.
Butler said friends and family were still reeling from the death of Walker’s son, who was walking to buy some chips when he was killed last Friday evening in what police think was a gang-related shooting near California and Flournoy. Samuel Jr. was shot to death when someone opened fire on a group of people. Six other people, including two other teenage boys, were wounded in that shooting.
“We were getting prepared for his son’s funeral and now we have got another one,” Butler said.
“He wasn’t even able to bury his own son,” added her sister, Barbara Figueroa, 46.
Sandra Williams, the boy’s aunt, said he had just finished summer school and planned to attend Manley Career Academy next school year.
“He was a good kid. He loved basketball and swimming,” she said on the steps of her sister’s home last Saturday.
On Thursday, the Rev. James Stevenson of nearby New Hope Missionary Baptist Church said the area where Walker was killed has been “extremely hot” with conflict.
“Every time I turn on the news, kids are getting killed,” said Samuel Walker Sr.’s aunt, who asked not to be named. “Do we have to wear bulletproof garments from our head to our toes?”
On July 1, 16-year-old Lafayette Walker was shot to death footsteps from where Samuel Walker Sr. was killed. Lafayette Walker was not related to Samuel Walker Sr.
“This stuff is like an epidemic,” Stevenson said.
Contributing: LeeAnn Shelton