Kimberly Hosch thought someone was playing an April Fools’ joke on her when she was told her 16-year-old son was killed on Monday.
“You all don’t understand how hard it’s for me to wake up in the morning and keep pushing without my child,” Hosch said, fighting back tears during a vigil for her slain child on Wednesday. “I don’t want to see no more guns, I don’t want to see no more parents go through this, because it hurts so bad.”
Gwain Brown — a student at Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School — and Calvin Choice were standing outside a store in the 700 block of South Cicero Avenue around 8:15 p.m. on Monday when someone walked up and fired shots, Chicago police said.
Wednesday’s vigil near the school organized by Brown’s basketball teammates drew over 100 people. His teachers, classmates and family members huddled around a student mural titled “0 shots, 0 killed: Today in Chicago.”
“I woke up this morning and almost lost it, but then I came here and found a little love,” Hosch said, standing with the crowd at 2713 W. Division St.
Hosch described her son as a “lovable teddy bear” who would purposefully annoy those he cared for. Occasionally “goofy,” he loved playing football and basketball and promised his mom he would turn professional one day and take care of his family.
Hosch said she’s still calling Brown’s phone, hoping he will pick up.
Bobby Murdock, 17, also thought someone was playing an April Fools’ joke when he saw news of the shooting on Facebook.
“Then we came into school the next day and it just hit us all hard,” said Murdock, who played basketball with Brown.
“We were more than teammates, he was like a brother,” Murdock added. “My first time seeing his momma was yesterday. I didn’t want to meet her like that. I wanted to see her in a different way, not like that.”
Brown’s teacher and principal also praised Brown.
“He was an extraordinary young man, he lit up a room when he walked in,” Principal Melissa Lewis said. “I ask that he rests in power.”
Jessica Fuentes, the school’s dean of student affairs, also paid her respects.
“There is always a time to mourn, but then there is a time to celebrate his life, to tell his story and to not allow that story die,” Fuentes said. “We can see a better community and we can ensure another young black or brown person in this community doesn’t have to be buried. But that is our responsibility, collectively.”
Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.