The sobs of another grieving family filled a Chatham apartment Sunday after a Simeon Career Academy sophomore and football player was shot to death 2 miles from home.
Michael Flournoy III, 16, who lived in the 8000 block of South Evans Avenue, was shot just before 8 p.m. Saturday in the 1000 block of East 93rd Street and died at the scene, officials said.
Michael’s grandfather, Samuel Woods, said the boy was his “best friend.”
“I saw Michael come in this world,” Woods said. “I kept him with me. I talked to him. We joked. We laughed. We played games on PlayStation. He was my friend. And I’m going to miss him.”
Family, friends and neighbors all described Michael as an ambitious, soft-spoken kid with a good head on his shoulders who steered clear of drugs and gangs. On Tuesday, he planned to interview for a summer job at Navy Pier, Woods said.
“That’s all he kept talking about,” Woods said. “‘Granddad, I got a job.’”
But Michael knew the danger lurking in his neighborhood, according to his grandfather. About a month ago, Michael was mugged on his way to a gas station a few blocks from home.
“They pressed the knife so hard in his belly it left a little hole,” Woods said. “And all they took from him was his cellphone and $5.”
On Saturday, Woods said, Michael was on his way to pick up chips at a store on 93rd Street in the Burnside neighborhood when he got into a fight with some other boys.
“They jumped on him,” Woods said. “Beat him up. And then they shot him in the face.”
Area South detectives are investigating.
Woods said he used to drive Michael to the North Side to look at buildings. The boy loved cars, thought about becoming a firefighter but really wanted to be an architect, Woods said.
“He wanted to build something,” Woods said. “He felt he wanted to be one of the best.”
Michael also played defensive back and wide receiver on the sophomore football team at Simeon.
“He was a great kid, always helping people out. He was a very soft-spoken young man, you would have to tell him to speak up just to hear him talk. Just a good kid,” Simeon football coach Dante Culbreath said of Michael.
By Sunday afternoon, a makeshift memorial marked the scene of his death outside St. Anthony’s Church. Mourners left stuffed animals and remembrances written on signs in black marker: “Gone too soon,” “God bless the family,” “Pray for our children.”
About a dozen balloons whipped in the breeze as more than 100 people gathered there later in the day. Michael’s mother, Tymeka Woods, wore her son’s Simeon letterman’s jacket and moaned as she dropped to her knees, adding another stuffed animal to the collection.
Family members said Michael was always on the lookout for his 10 siblings.
Brandee Jones, Michael’s 16-year-old cousin, said she’ll miss their occasional “cousin dates” for lunch. She remembered having pillow fights when she and Michael used to baby-sit their other cousins.
“All he thought about was protecting his mother and younger brothers,” Jones said. “He was a leader.”
Andrew Holmes, a community activist with Generational Progress, announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to Michael’s killer. Tips can be reported to 1 (800) U-TELL-US.
Contributing: Michael O’Brien, Sun-Times Media Wire