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Slain teen, brother of girl killed in 1998, is buried: ‘Here we go again’

Funeral of Bryan Harris

Family and friends pay respects to Bryan "Wop" Harris, 19, who was shot to death in Harvey on Aug. 14. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

A week after he was fatally shot in a Harvey convenience store, friends and family of Bryan Harris eulogized the 19-year-old man whose “smile could brighten your whole day.”

Around 100 of Harris’ friends and family gathered at the House of Hope church in Pullman to pay their respects and tell stories of the “great brother” and “amazing uncle.”

Briona Harris said losing her brother was “like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”

Funeral for Bryan Harris, 19

Family and friends visit the body of Bryan Harris, 19, who was shot to death in Harvey Aug. 14,. Flowers spelled out “Wop,” one of his nicknames. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

“My brother is my heart and this hurts so bad,” Briona said. “I never thought we’d lose another sibling but here we go again.”

Harris was the brother of 11-year old Ryan Harris, who was found raped and murdered in Englewood in July 1998.

A little over 20 years later, Harris was killed when two groups of men had an “exchange of words” that escalated into an exchange of gunfire, said Sean Howard, a Harvey spokesman.

Taijean Hall, 17, was also killed in the shooting, which occurred around 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the Express Drive Thru Food Mart, 14620 S. Halsted St. in Harvey. At the time, police were looking for two suspects who left the scene in a black Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Harvey Police Chief Gregory Thomas said last Tuesday the Jeep had been reported stolen from a nearby suburb.

Thomas said the shooting fits a trend plaguing the south suburban city in recent weeks. Teens and other young people are stealing vehicles or license plates to use in crimes, sometimes leading to police chases.

Casket of Bryan Harris

The casket of Bryan Harris, 19, who was shot to death in Harvey on Aug. 14, is taken from his memorial service Friday at a Pullman church. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

Harris had many nicknames, but most knew him as “Wop.” Though some in his family called him “Chubb,” or “Beezy,” he’d always be “Baby Boy” to his mother, Sabrina Harris.

Family friend Dawn Valenti remembered Harris as a “chubby, cuddly little boy,” the youngest boy in the family. Sabrina Harris was pregnant with him when Ryan was murdered.

“People talk about Ryan, but he’s the baby boy,” Valenti said. “He was a good kid and this shouldn’t have happened to him. Losing him has affected a whole family. They took that boy from his entire family.”

Police could not immediately say if anyone has been questioned or is in custody for the shooting of Harris and Hall.

Shayna Harris, another sister, said Harris was a “silly, but good kid.”

“I just wish I could’ve had a little more time with him,” Shayna said. “I just wish I could’ve seen the type of man that he was going to grow up into, because I know he would’ve been a good man because he was such a good brother, a good uncle and a good friend to everyone.”

Casket of Bryan "Wop" Harris, 19, shot to death in Harvey on Aug. 14,

The casket of Bryan “Wop” Harris, 19, shot to death in Harvey on Aug. 14, is taken from his memorial service on Friday. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times