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Man fatally shot at Avalon Park tire shop called devoted father, 'life of the party'

Reginald Jones was shot to death Wednesday afternoon at a tire shop in Avalon Park. | Family Photo

It was New Year’s Eve and Reginald Jones was making plans to be with his family at midnight.

But the 33-year-old didn’t live to see 2015.

Chicago’s last known murder victim of 2014 was shot dead by a masked gunman while he worked at a South Side tire shop Wednesday afternoon.

The father of three’s violent death made no sense to his family.

A devoted, hard-working and gregarious, churchgoing dad, he was “the life of the party,” his sister Brandy Jones said. If he had any enemies, he never mentioned it.

“Every man has things he keeps to himself, but he never said anything about any problems he had with anybody,” his sister said, acknowledging that her brother’s job as a tow truck driver “could be dangerous.”

Jones had been self-employed as a tow truck driver for around eight years and worked all the hours he could, even going out late to give a a stranded motorist a tow on Christmas Day, she added.

The shooting occurred about 2:30 p.m. at Rodriguez Rims & Tires at 80th and S. Stony Island Ave in Avalon Park, police said. A gunman in a ski mask approached Jones, shot him multiple times and ran away, police told Jones’ family.

As relatives gathered at the family home nearby Thursday, Brandy Jones remembered how her brother liked to host cookouts for his large, close family and friends at Jesse Owens Park and the 31st Street Beach.

“He was always talking with his mouth full — he talked so fast, like an auctioneer, that we all said he should do that for a living.”

“He was an encourager, always affectionate and unafraid to show emotion,” his mother, Judy Jones, said.

Jones grew up on the South Side and attended Bowen High School and Salem Baptist Church, his mother said. He adored his daughter Kirya, 14, and his sons Kylan, 7, and Kamaron, 6, she said.

Kylan and Kamaron would wear his cologne and “always smelled like their father,” relatives said.

They also shared his love of old cars and could identify every vehicle on the road, Brandy Jones said.

Jones was planning to spend New Year’s Eve with his family, but was instead rushed to Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center on the back of a flatbed truck after he was shot by a gunman in a ski mask, she added.

“It was faster than waiting for an ambulance, but he was dead before he got there,” she added. “One life taken has affected one thousand hearts.”

Jones, of the 8800 block of South Cornell, was pronounced dead at 2:55 p.m., authorities said.

His mother had no idea why he’d been killed. “I wish I knew,” she said.

Police investigate a fatal shooting Wednesday in the 8000 block of South Stony Island. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

Police investigate a fatal shooting Wednesday in the 8000 block of South Stony Island. | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times