One shooting left a former college football player and son of a Chicago political reformer dead in Woodlawn.
Another man reportedly was killed in front of his two young children in Brighton Park.
The tragedies marked some of the freshest — and most heartbreaking — murder cases in a year that is nearly keeping pace with last year’s when it comes to violence in Chicago. As of Friday afternoon, the city had seen 268 homicides in 2017. Between Jan. 1 and June 9, 2016, Chicago recorded 275 homicides — en route to a 2016 total of 780, the most homicides the city had seen in two decades.
In the city’s most recent homicide, Xavier Joy, a graduate of Whitney Young High School and former football player at Morehouse College in Atlanta, was fatally shot shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday in the 6200 block of South Ingleside, police said.
Officers found him in the parking lot of an apartment building, shot several times. He was pronounced dead at 10:23 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Joy’s father, Ra Joy, is the executive director of CHANGE Illinois, a coalition of organizations that is “leading systemic political and government reform,” according to its website.
Thursday night, Ra Joy wrote on Facebook: “Our family is heartbroken by this tragic and senseless shooting. Xavier was an incredibly creative, funny, and smart young man. We hope and pray for an end to the violence that has impacted our family and so many others in our city. Our entire family is grateful for all those who have extended their love and condolences during this very difficult time.”
Ra Joy asked for his family’s privacy as funeral arrangements are made.
Majoring in political science and playing defensive back on the football team at Morehouse, Xavier Joy said his “chief ambition” was “to give back to my community and provide for my family” on the college’s athletics page.
Social media was flooded with condolences to the Joy family and remembrances of Xavier, with a friend of his writing on Facebook, “He wanted to help the community! How great and noble that was!! Gun Violence took his life! But it cannot take this positive example he set for us all!!! GET INVOLVED!!! Help us end this carnage on the streets!!”
In a statement issued Friday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) decried Xavier Joy’s shooting, saying: “We deserve better. We are better.”
“Words are too insufficient for the loss of life taking place in our city, Chicago. I am truly heartbroken to learn that my dear friend, Nykea Pippion-McGriff, lost her son, Xavier Joy,” Rush said. “As the parent of a son who was also killed by gun violence, I can empathize with Nykea’s family and all the families across my district and the Nation who have experienced this tragedy. No parent should have to experience a loss such as this.”
“Xavier recently returned home to serve his community,” Rush added. “He was the type of young man that we all want our children to grow up to be and his life was taken while doing something so many Americans take for granted every day: returning home from work.”
In an earlier homicide case Thursday, Isaac Reed, 25, was fatally shot while standing on the sidewalk in the 4600 block of South Troy at 1:07 p.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office.
Two male suspects walked up and opened fire before running off, according to police. The Chicago Tribune reported that Reed was walking with his two young children before he was killed.
Reed was shot in the head, shoulder and back, and was taken in critical condition to Mount Sinai Hospital, police and the medical examiner’s office said. The Cicero resident was pronounced dead there about five hours later at 6:16 p.m.
Police said he was a documented gang member, and the incident is thought to be gang-related.
Reached Friday afternoon, Reed’s family did not yet want to comment.