Slain barber to Bears players was ‘everything an African-American man should be’

SHARE Slain barber to Bears players was ‘everything an African-American man should be’
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MIchael Carney (left) and Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara. | Provided photo

When Michael Carney wasn’t giving haircuts to star Chicago Bears players, he was likely playing softball or spending time with his 5-year-old daughter Mikayla and 6-year-old son Caleb.

But at 3:35 p.m. on Sunday, Carney’s life was cut short when he was gunned down at a gas station near 150th Street and Dixie Highway in south suburban Harvey, according to Sean Howard, spokesman for the city. Mustering his final bits of strength, Carney hopped back in his car and drove Mikayla out of harm’s way.

A short time later, Carney, 26, was found at the nearby intersection of 149th Street and Cooper, according to Howard and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He had succumbed to the multiple gunshot wounds that had riddled his body.

An arrest warrant was issued Thursday for Carney’s suspected shooter, 27-year-old Perry “PJ” Gosa, according to Harvey police. Gosa, who was last seen Thursday morning in Robbins, is charged with first-degree murder.

Perry “PJ” Gosa | Harvey police

Perry “PJ” Gosa | Harvey police

Gosa was described as a 5-foot-6, 160-pound African-American man with brown eyes and dreadlocks, police said. The black Chevrolet Monte Carlo he was driving during the shooting was found near his Matteson home, but the .45-caliber gun used in the attack has not been recovered, the warrant said. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Howard said Gosa is an ex-boyfriend of Carney’s girlfriend who allegedly had been following Carney before the shooting. Anyone with information can call police at (708) 331-2131.

Carney’s loved ones remember him as a hard-working family man with a quick sense of humor.

“Michael Carney was everything an African-American man should be,” Howard said.

Michael Carney with his kids, Caleb, 6, and Mikayla, 5 | Provided photo

Michael Carney with his kids, Caleb, 6, and Mikayla, 5 | Provided photo

Carney loved to sing and draw, but he was perhaps best known for his barbering skills. His clientele at Dna Styles, 43 E. 159th St. in Harvey, included top Bears stars like linebacker Khalil Mack and cornerback Prince Amukamara.

“Everybody is really devastated,” his sister, Erin Carney, said. “It’s heartbreaking because he wasn’t a violent person. He was really positive.”

Erin Carney said her brother would typically play softball on Sunday afternoons, but his season ended the previous week when his team lost the league’s championship game. Howard noted that he was “an excellent community person” and shared the ballfield with many local police officers.

Carney was baptized by Bishop Larry Trotter, senior pastor of Chicago’s historic Sweet Holy Spirit Church, and he also spent many Sundays at church. On Monday, Trotter sent his condolences in a Facebook post.

“I blessed him as a baby, baptized him, taught him [and] watched him start his successful First Class Barber Shop … and [he] became a great father,” Trotter wrote. “Michael, we love you and are proud of you.”

On Monday night, Carney’s family and friends held a candlelight vigil near the scene of his shooting.

“It was actually really nice,” said Erin Carney.

Carney’s funeral will be held Saturday at Sweet Holy Spirit Church.

Contributing: Luke Wilusz

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