Rauner College Prep freshman was killed by student from neighboring school who tried to rob him after early dismissal: prosecutors

Tremell Neloms was arrested Wednesday in Calumet City for the murder of Caleb Westbrooks Jan. 18 in the 800 block of North Greenview Avenue.

SHARE Rauner College Prep freshman was killed by student from neighboring school who tried to rob him after early dismissal: prosecutors
Caleb Westbrooks

Caleb Westbrooks


A Rauner College Prep freshman was killed by a student from a neighboring school who tried to rob him after early dismissal last month in West Town, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.

Tremell Neloms, 18, was arrested Wednesday in suburban Calumet City for the murder of 15-year-old Caleb Westbrooks.

Westbrooks had left Rauner College Prep after early dismissal at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 18 and walked with friends two blocks north to meet other friends at Golder College Prep, prosecutors said.

While Westbrooks’ group waited outside for the friends, Neloms left the school and passed through them, prosecutors said. Neloms allegedly followed them after the friends arrived and they began walking down Superior Street.

After some in Westbrooks’ group looked back at Neloms, he walked through the group again and turned on Chicago Avenue, prosecutors said.


Chicago Police work the scene where a 15-year-old boy was critically wounded in a shooting in the 800 block of North Greenview Avenue, in the Noble Square neighborhood, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Neloms then approached Westbrooks at the mouth of an alley in the 800 block of North Greenview Avenue, prosecutors said. After Westbrooks asked him a question, Neloms allegedly pulled out a gun and said he was robbing them.

When Westbrooks asked who he was robbing, Neloms allegedly fired three times, striking the teen in the abdomen, chest and arm. As Westbrooks’ friends ran, Neloms fired at them four times and then ran back to his school, prosecutors said.

Detectives used surveillance video at Golder College Prep and private cameras to follow Neloms through the entire incident. Neloms was allegedly captured arriving to school late that morning. He was buzzed in by an administrative assistant who later identified him in surveillance video, prosecutors said. One of Westbrooks’ friends also allegedly identified Neloms in a photo array.

Neloms was ordered held without bail on a charge of murder.

Westbrooks’ father said he is grateful for the witnesses and neighbors who provided surveillance video to make the case against Neloms. But while the charges are good news, he said, it doesn’t bring back his son to him and his family.

“Our lives are devastated forever,” Corneal Westbrooks said in a statement. “I never knew that silence in my home could be so loud.”

He also thanked elected officials for working together together to combat gun violence after he criticized them in January for “pointing fingers at one another” and not taking personal responsibility for preventing crime.

Caleb Westbrooks teen played football for the Garfield Park Gators and was a wide-receiver for the Illinois All Stars team, where he met head coach Neil Williams.

“He was a comedian,” Williams said after the shooting. “I called him Sinbad because he reminded me of the comedian. But he didn’t have a clue who Sinbad was. He had to google it to figure out who he was. He was a fun kid.”

The Latest
Like Gulliver, travel downtown this past weekend brought you to a world transformed.
The two were outside about 4:20 a.m. in the 1300 block of South Throop Street when someone fired shots.
Officers responding to a shots fired call about 10 p.m. found the two in the 3800 block of West Ohio Street.
Officers responding to a person shot report found the man lying on a porch with multiple gunshot wounds.
One man, 34, was found in the 300 block of East Huron Street and died at a hospital. Another man later showed up at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.