Chicago rapper Young Pappy, who had previously been the intended target in at least two shootings that left bystanders dead, was himself fatally shot early Friday in Uptown.
Shaquon Thomas, 19, was in the 4800 block of North Kenmore Avenue when gunfire erupted at 1:35 a.m., authorities said. He was declared dead within 30 minutes atAdvocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.Witnesses reported seeing a black car that may have been associated with the shooting,according to a statement from Ald. Harry Osterman (48th Ward).
Thomas rapped under the moniker Young Pappy. The up-and-coming musician was not signed to a record label, but his song “Killa” has more than 250,000 views on YouTube. Another song, “Fanteo Freestyle,” has nearly 225,000 views.
As word of the rapper’s death spread, fans, including Cliff Alexander, a standout basketball player at Curie Metropolitan High School and the University of Kansas, took to social media to express theircondolences:
The rapper was born on the North Side and made music because “it puts him in a positive mood,” according to his Facebookpage.
Authorities listed Thomas’ home address as the 6300 block of North Lakewood Avenue, but a resident at the building said he only occasionally stayed there with his father, who recently movedout.
According to the rapper’s Facebook page, he hoped to use music to support his family and the family of a friend killed in streetviolence.
“All he wanted me to do was make it,” Thomas wrote on his Facebook page about the dead pal. “He campaigned my music the hardest out of anybody I knew. I love bro and I’m gonna do this for him cause this what hewanted.”
Thomas himself was no stranger to street violence and run-ins with thelaw.
In 2013, Thomas was sentenced to one year in prison for felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, according to court records. He was given credit for timeserved.
He also had numerous misdemeanor arrests, mostly recently a May 13 disorderly conduct and possession of cannabis charge. According to DNAinfo Chicago, that charge came from a record release party that led to a five-hour police standoff and 31 arrests.
Lewis, 28, was standing in the 1300 block of West Devon Avenue on July 12 when a gunman walked up and shot him in the back, authoritiessaid.
He had escaped poverty in Guatemala when he was adopted at age 7. Loving parents raised him in Wisconsin, where he found his two passions: photography and the woman who would become his wife.
He attended art school in Milwaukee and moved to Chicago two years ago. Lewis and his wife moved into an apartment in the 4700 block of North Hermitage Avenue just two weeks before his death, according to afriend.
Prosecutors say 31-year-old Conservative Vice Lord Eric Vaughn spotted a rival gang member, and handed 15-year-old Denzel Burke a gun. Burke and 17-year-old Michael Phillips then chased the rival through Rogers Park.
Burke fired 10 times, missing the rival but striking Lewis in the back as he stood at a nearby bus stop, prosecutorssaid.
On Feb. 5, 2014, a masked gunman fatally shot Carr, 17, and wounded three others in a McDonald’s parking lot in the 6700 block of North ClarkStreet.
The victims had been in an argument with another group of people shortly before the masked gunman approached, policesaid.
Jaunita Carr-Clay, Carr’s aunt, said her nephew loved torap.
“He made little videos at home on his own,” she said. “He was very talented. He rapped about everyday life,reality.”
She said Carr, who attended a nearby high school, had just come from his mother’s house around the corner. “She’d given him a few dollars to get something toeat.”
Nobody has been charged in connection with Carr’smurder.
A police spokeswoman declined to discuss what role Thomas had, if any, in the deaths of Lewis and Carr, citing “an open and ongoinginvestigation.”
But Uptown resident Kristin Johnson said on Friday that it is not unusual to hear gunshots in theneighborhood.
“I heard about 10 gunshots and went to the window to peek out, but I didn’t see anything,” Johnsonsaid.
Johnson, 34, said she initially used to wonder if the loud noises in the neighborhood were gunshots or fireworks, but she has since become desensitized tothem.
“I used to feel more safe [in Uptown] . . . but I’m a mom now,” Johnson said while holding her young child. “It’s different when its justyou.”
Osterman said he has requested “additional security in our area to curb the possibility of retaliatoryactions.”