When 8-year-old Lavelle Martin found his father stabbed in their Chicago Lawn home he tried to save his life, pressing a towel against the chest wound blood pooled on the floor.
Larry Martin was declared dead at 7:46 p.m. Wednesday night at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
“His last words was to me,” Lavelle said Thursday. “He said, ‘I’m gonna die, but I love you.’”
Martin, 28, was stabbed about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday at his home in the 6800 block of South Talman Avenue, authorities said. A bleeding Martin tried to follow his attacker into the street, but fell down the stairs, Lavelle said.
A dying Martin begged Lavelle for water, the boy said.
Earlier that day, Martin played with Lavelle in the park and took him shopping at the mall, family said.
“On Easter, we went to church together. We’d go fishing together, we went to the mall together, we got our haircuts together,” Lavelle said.
Relatives gathered at his mother Angela Jenkins’ Chicago Lawn home Thursday to share memories of Martin.
When Martin wasn’t with Lavelle, he was with friends, said his cousin, Valencia Jenkins. Martin liked club-hopping even though he wasn’t a great dancer, she said.
“He was caring, considerate, always trying to steer people in the right direction,” said Valencia Jenkins said. “He was raised on strict morals and values. He was a fun-loving guy.”
Martin grew up on the South Side and attended Harlan High School before moving to the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.
Martin recently found temporary work unloading trucks in a warehouse after years of working at McDonald’s, family said. Lavelle said his dad’s dream was to open a restaurant.
Angela Jenkins said she taught Martin to cook, but what her son taught her seems more important now.
“He taught me to learn how to control my anger. ‘Calm down, Mom,’ he would always tell me that,” she said. “He was like my father because he would always call me. ‘Mom, where you at? What time are you coming home? I’ll meet you back at the house.’”
Angela Jenkins said Martin struggled as a single father, but never cut corners when raising Lavelle.
“There wasn’t a day [of school] that Lavelle missed because my son couldn’t get up,” Angela Jenkins said. “He got up, got him dressed, told him what to put on. They walked to school. That was all he knew, his kids.”
Angela Jenkins said she will care for Lavelle and get him counseling as the family waits for the killer to be caught. Relatives said Martin knew his attacker. Police said no one was in custody Thursday night.