A year after he lost his mom and his home, 14-year-old shot dead in South Chicago. ‘He was a baby.’

Ronald Nolton went to school and rapped as Lil Ronald. After his mother died, “everything changed. His whole life changed,” his older sister Paulina Nolton says. “A part of him left with her.”

SHARE A year after he lost his mom and his home, 14-year-old shot dead in South Chicago. ‘He was a baby.’
Ronald Nolton, 14, who went to school and rapped as Lil Ronald.

Ronald Nolton, 14, who went to school and rapped as Lil Ronald.

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His family couldn’t afford a party for Ronald Nolton on his 14th birthday, but they still came together earlier this month to celebrate.

It had not been an easy year for Ronald, who lost his mother the previous spring and had to leave his home in Waukegan and move in with relatives on the South Side.

“When we moved and my mom passed away, everything changed, his whole life changed,” his older sister Paulina Nolton, 28, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “A part of him left with her.”

The afternoon of April 20, just four days after his birthday, Ronald was in a car in the 2300 block of East 80th Street when someone shot him in his chest, according to Chicago police. He was pronounced dead at South Shore Hospital down the block.

“He was a baby,” Nolton said. “I wanted to go with my brother … but I’ve got to be strong. I can’t think like that.”

At least four other children younger than 15 have been killed in shootings in Chicago this year. Charity Johnson, 14, died just days before Ronald after being shot on the West Side. She was two days shy of her 15th birthday.

Ronald and his sister grew up in Waukegan. After their mother died, he went to live with his older brother while Nolton struggled to find housing.

Ronald had started eighth grade at a new school in Chicago but didn’t know many people, his sister said. Nolton wanted him to move back out to the suburbs, but she said he liked living in the city. He loved rapping and wanted to pursue a career in music.

A number of blogs and social media accounts dedicated to hip-hop music have covered Ronald’s killing, reporting that the teenager went by the name Lil Ronald.

Seeing many of these posts has been upsetting for Nolton, who said her brother loved rapping in his free time but spent every day in the classroom.

“You’ve got this 13-year-old child walking around who lost his mom, and it’s taking a toll on him,” Nolton said. “It’s hard. Your whole life has changed. You’ve got to go through things you don’t want to go through as a child.”

Balloon releases were organized at Ronald’s old school in Waukegan and new school on the South Side.

As the oldest sibling in the family, Nolton has organized services for Ronald and is working to find money for a repast even as she remains homeless and in search of housing.

Nolton said the police haven’t given her any update on his killing, which remains under investigation.

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