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Family of slain South Shore man struggles to find answers about his death

Darrien Wilson | Provided photo/Shronda Parsons

Darrien Wilson’s aunt remembers him as a “humble, lovable young man.”

“[He was] always respectful of his elders, always inviting and cool with people that he knew or people he didn’t know,” Wilson’s aunt, Shronda Parsons, told the Sun-Times.

Given Wilson’s easygoing personality, his family was shocked to hear that he had been shot in the chest on Feb. 1 at his apartment in the South Shore neighborhood. Shortly after being rushed to the University of Chicago Medical Center, the 31-year-old was pronounced dead, according to Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Since the medical examiner’s office informed Wilson’s family of his death, they’ve struggled to get in touch with the detectives who are investigating the slaying, she said.

Parsons is getting the sense that the family is being stonewalled, and noted they still don’t know fundamental details about the case, like who called 911.

“[The detectives] couldn’t reach out and try to come over to my sister’s house and say, ‘Hey, we understand what’s going on, sorry for your loss, we’re working the case,’” she asked.

“If you could just tell us you’re working the case, it would feel better than nothing,” said Parsons, a case worker for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

She said it was disheartening to see how many detectives are investigating the reported attack on “Empire” star Jussie Smollett. Police initially assigned over a dozen detectives to look into the Smollett case.

“I was kind of frustrated,” she said. “Like, wow, it takes 20 detectives to work on this one case for this actor but you have multiple people who are losing family members every day. And if they’re going through what our family is going through, that’s pretty sad that one person, out of those 20 people that are working around the clock, couldn’t contact us.”

Shronda Parsons and Darrien Wilson, then 13. | Provided photo/Shronda Parsons
Shronda Parsons and Darrien Wilson, then 13. | Provided photo/Shronda Parsons

Just after 1 a.m., witnesses heard someone come to the back door of Wilson’s apartment in the 1800 block of East 78th Street, police said. After firing a single shot, the suspect ran off.

Despite the mysterious circumstances of his death, Parsons claimed the family has some information that could be useful to investigators.

Wilson was hanging out at another aunt’s house Thursday evening and was picked up by two people, according to Parsons. Before he left, the aunt noticed that he was video chatting with a man with dreadlocks and a “tattoo on his face,” she said.

“It was a person that we’ve never seen before,” she said, noting that the aunt reported those details to investigators and suggested they interview the possible suspects.

Parsons said Wilson was “never a person to start trouble.” However, Cook County court records show that he had been arrested 10 times and convicted of a series of misdemeanors, including convictions for unlawful use of a weapon in 2010 and battery last year.

Nevertheless, Parsons described Wilson as a hard-working “jokester.” He graduated from Roberto Clemente Community Academy with honors, and had recently been working on a food truck and cooking at a Five Guys restaurant in the Loop, she said.

Parsons said the family is now planning Wilson’s funeral, but she wouldn’t release details about the service because “the killer is still on the street.”

A Chicago police spokesman didn’t respond to a request for additional information about Wilson’s death.