After he came out of a week-and-a-half long coma last December, lifelong South Shore resident Christon Barlow moved into a Bronzeville nursing home.
In his seven months living there, the 52-year-old Barlow became popular among the staff and his fellow residents. In fact, he was hired on as a driver for other residents and often would run errands for the staff and others who lived there, according to his sister.
Tuesday night, Barlow was out picking up a few things for other residents and the nursing home staff when he was shot and killed one block east of the Chicago Police Department’s headquarters.
“He’d gotten so well-known over there in the home that they hired him to be their transporter for patients, to go to the store for nurses and patients, and this is how he ended up,” said his sister, Phyllys Barlow-Greene.
He was one of four shot near the intersection of 35th and Indiana — a block south of the nursing home — about 8:30 p.m., according to police. He was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital about a half hour later. He was the lone fatality. Two men, ages 18 and 20, and a 20-year-old woman were also shot.
A man who did not want to be named said he was in a car on 35th Street when another car traveling north on Prairie turned left onto 35th and someone inside opened fire toward the victims. The car — which he estimated had four people in it — then crashed into his car. The people in the other car then ran off, he said.
“He was very helpful with all the staff and residents,” said Angel Wells, the director of nursing at Bronzeville Park Skilled Living and Nursing Center.
She added that Barlow would make a point to ask residents with mobility issues if he could pick anything up for them or help them in any way.
A Chicago Police officer at the scene said the attack was a drive-by shooting and detectives are reviewing surveillance footage from several neighboring businesses.
Barlow was a former construction worker who had been placed on disability in recent years after he developed respiratory problems. Those breathing issues, which included asthma, would eventually lead to the coma, his sister said.
Barlow-Greene said she moved her family to Sumter, South Carolina, two years ago to get away from gun violence in Chicago.
Barlow, the second-oldest of five children, helped care for his grandmother before his coma, his sister said. The day he went into it, his grandmother died.
He had two adult children, one son and one daughter, and several nieces who “called him ‘Uncle Crazy’ because he kept them laughing,” his sister said.
A lover of music, Barlow was a drummer who often showcased his dance moves, his sister said.
“You put a song on and that boy would step down,” she said.
Barlow-Greene said that detectives told her two people were in custody for the shooting, which the Chicago Police Department’s News Affairs office could not confirm Wednesday evening.