Pharmacy tech killed by stray bullet honored as ‘awesome team player’

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Candice Dickerson’s three sons show off her picture and a plaque honoring her. | Carlos Ballesteros, Sun-Times

Candice Dickerson loved her job at Norwegian American.

In 2005, at 22, Dickerson started volunteering at the hospital five days a week, eight hours a day, hoping to land a job.

“It took a few months before a position became available, but once that position was available, it was ‘thumbs up’ from every single person in the department,” said Tina Spriggs, a supervisor in the hospital’s pharmacy department.

RELATED: No bail for man accused of fatally shooting mother in cellphone store

Dickerson was a pharmacy technician at Norwegian for the next 14 years.

“It was obvious all Candice needed was that opportunity,” Spriggs said. “Candice came in and mastered every single position in the pharmacy department. Candice became one of the go-to people in the department. Everybody wanted to speak with Candice because they knew Candice was going to follow through with whatever their request was. She was an awesome team player.”

Spriggs, Dickerson’s family, and dozens of the hospital’s staff honored their fallen coworker on Tuesday, 10 days after she was struck by a stray bullet while inside a MetroPCS cellphone store on the Southwest Side.

The hospital revealed a commemorative plaque it will place in the hospital’s pharmacy wing: “In memory of Candice Dickerson, our role model,” it reads.

Candice Dickerson’s mother, Sandra Respress-Hambling, and stepfather, Dwight Hamblin, hold a commemorative plaque unveiled Tuesday at Norwegian American Hospital honoring their daughter. | Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

Candice Dickerson’s mother, Sandra Respress-Hambling, and stepfather, Dwight Hamblin, hold a commemorative plaque unveiled Tuesday at Norwegian American Hospital honoring their daughter. | Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

Dickerson was shopping for a cellphone for one of her three sons when a stray bullet burst through a store window, hitting her in the face. She died at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, authorities said. An ambulance sent to the scene also was struck by gunfire.

Dickerson’s two youngest sons — Jacarey, 12, and Julien, 10 — were with her at the time of the shooting.

Her eldest son, Jaden, 17, wasn’t there but got news over the phone.

“I didn’t believe it,” Jaden said. “I felt guilty that I wasn’t there when it happened, but it feels to good to see she had all these people that were there for her, that loved her as a close friend.”

On Monday, Bryant Mitchell, 23, was charged with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in Dickerson’s death. Detectives also questioned a person of interest who may have been a second shooter, a police spokesperson said.

Candice Dickerson’s three sons attended a ceremony honoring their mother at Norwegian American Hospital.

Candice Dickerson’s three sons attended a ceremony honoring their mother at Norwegian American Hospital. Dickerson was a pharmacy technician at the hospital for 14 years; she was gunned down April 26 while shopping for a cell phone for one of her sons. | Carlos Ballesteros, Sun-Times

Sun-Times file

Carlos Ballesteros is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of Chicago’s South and West sides.

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