Aspiring actor killed in Austin shooting; ‘He was all about being happy — ‘Life ain’t that bad,’ that was one of his famous lines’

Xavier Lofton, 29, was killed in a shooting late Friday night on the West Side that killed another person and critically wounded a third.

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Xavier Lofton, 29.

Xavier Lofton, 29, was killed in a shooting Dec. 2, 2022, in Austin.

Reginald Irving

Xavier Lofton was passionate about acting.

Though he didn’t start his career seriously until his late 20s, he was determined to put in the work, often taking several acting classes at the same time. He was known for bringing a sense of joy to a classroom or set, Reginald Irving, CEO of the production company StarShaper told the Sun-Times.

When news broke that Lofton had been gunned down late Friday in the Austin neighborhood, Irving and his fellow actors were left in shock. “I couldn’t do nothing but scream,” Irving said. “When Xavier was around everyone was happy.”

Lofton and a woman had been traveling south in the 200 block of South Cicero Avenue when someone in a beige SUV started shooting at their car just after 11 p.m. Friday, Chicago police said.

Lofton was shot in his head, armpit and thigh and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The woman, 29, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, arm and back, police said. She was rushed to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.

Another driver, a 36-year-old man, crashed into a parked vehicle after he was “caught in the crossfire,” police said. He was found shot in his back nearby and was also taken to Mount Sinai, where he died.

When Irving heard about the shooting the next morning, he said he called Lofton in a panic. A post on Lofton’s father’s Facebook confirmed the worst, he said.

Police reported that no one was in custody Monday.

“I just want him remembered as someone who did not bother nobody,” Irving said. “He did not stand for confrontation. When I would get angry, he would calm me down. He was all about being happy — ‘Life ain’t that bad,’ that was one of his famous lines.”

Lofton had reached out to Irving about a year ago, hoping to get involved with Irving’s company after working on another brief project.

“Xavier was so eager to learn more about acting. ... He would get out of one class and go to another,” Irving said.

Irving said he helped coach Lofton over the last year and worked with him on several projects, including a series for Tubi. Lofton had become such a large presence at the company that Irving said he was unsure how to move on without him.

“I’ve never been through anything like this,” Irving said. “Where do we go from here? How do we continue? He was in every class, on every set.”


In the last year, Xavier Lofton, seen above in the white t-shirt, worked on a handful of projects with Reginald Irving and his Starshaper production company.

Reginald Irving

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