Teen who saved 10-year-old’s life in South Chicago shooting in 2020 shot dead on Labor Day

Swaysee Rankin, 15, helped save the life of 10-year-old La’Mya Sparks in 2020.

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Swaysee Rankin, left, was dropped off at South Shore Hospital on Monday with multiple gunshot wounds. Three years ago, he saved the life of his close friend La’Mya Sparks, right, who was struck by a stray bullet.

Swaysee Rankin, left, was dropped off at South Shore Hospital on Monday with multiple gunshot wounds. Three years ago, he saved the life of his close friend La’Mya Sparks, right, who was struck by a stray bullet.

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At just 15 years old, Swaysee Rankin met a tragic end by gunfire Monday night, but three years ago, he heroically saved a girl’s life after she was struck by a stray bullet.

Swaysee rushed up to his 10-year-old friend, La’Mya Sparks, after she was shot in her back in Russell Square Park in South Chicago. Taking off his shirt to apply pressure to the girl’s gunshot wound, the teen stayed by his friend’s side until paramedics arrived.

Six months later, Swaysee himself was wounded in a shooting. He recovered. He was shot again on Labor Day. An unknown man dropped the teen at South Shore Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a police report.

This time, Swaysee was pronounced dead about 9 p.m., the report said.

“He was the sweetest boy with the biggest heart, and I love him for being there for my daughter,” said Shawnta Williams, La’Mya’s mother. “He acted like a real big brother, and I would thank him for what he did in that park.”

Williams said she didn’t know if the teen had been involved with any gangs, but she added, “Young boys in this generation grow up around so much violence. Swaysee was a good kid, and I don’t want people to just label him as a gang-banger. He didn’t deserve what happened to him.”

Staff at South Shore Hospital told police that the man who dropped Swaysee off looked to be between 18 and 20 years old.

He had a gun tucked into his waistband, and after leaving Swaysee in the lobby, he sped off in a red car heading south on Crandon Avenue, the report said.

Swaysee was among seven young people shot in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, according to Sun-Times data.

“Our kids are not making it to 18,” Williams said. “I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’m trying not to cry. This is something that happens, like, every day.”

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