Church’s shooting: Killed teens in ‘wrong place at wrong time’

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Provided photo of Dantril Brown, 17, shooting victim from the Churches Chicken restaurant Tuesday night, December 27, 2011.

Tuesday was 99 cent specials night at Church’s Chicken at 66th and Halsted, and the dinnertime rush was on.

When a crazed gunman ran in and started shooting, there was almost nowhere to run.

But 17-year-old Dantril Brown made it to a side exit of the packed restaurant all the same, his family said Wednesday. He didn’t make it any further.

“The door was locked,” Brown’s aunt and godmother Linda King said. “He was at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Brown, a student at Prosser Career Academy, and Jawan Ross, 16, a student at Robeson High School, were named Wednesday by the Cook County medical examiner’s office as the two teens killed in the wild shooting just blocks from their Englewood homes. Five other victims – including a friend of Brown’s – survived the 6:50 p.m. mayhem with bullet wounds, authorities say.

The restaurant, where workers were protected behind bulletproof glass, was closed Wednesday, and police had not made any arrests. Chicago Police said Tuesday that the incident began when the gunman got in an argument with another man outside the restaurant, then escalated when he followed the second man inside and started shooting. Video evidence has been recovered.

Families of both dead teens gathered at houses nearby Wednesday to mourn what they described as typical teenage boys.

Ross, of the 6600 block of South Stewart, was a basketball fanatic and cutup from a large, disciplined family, relatives said. He loved fixing things, building bicycles and joking with his 15 siblings, aunt Latonya Ross said.

While his sisters went to a White Castle down the block to grab food Tuesday night, Ross made the fateful decision to take advantage of the special at Church’s, she said. “He was there alone. He just got caught in the middle of something he had nothing to do with,” his aunt added. She said the violence plaguing Englewood “is crazy – it’s got to stop.”

Brown’s family said he had been arrested once before for staying out past curfew. But King said Brown was not in a gang and that he was looking forward to going to college. “This had nothing to do with any gang activity, at least not as far as Dantril was concerned, as far as we know,” she said.

Relatives described Brown, of the 6800 block of South Emerald, as a ladies man who also loved basketball and helped his mother raise his siblings while she struggled with breast cancer.

“I just want my brother back,” his little sister Queen said.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

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