CHICAGO — When Clifton Haralson saw a man with a gun heading towards him, he ran — fleeing from his mother’s home full of friends and family celebrating a birthday, witnesses said.
“He refused to get us hurt,” his mother Lucille Haralson said.
Clifton Haralson, 27, hurried through an alley and jumped a fence, but the gunman caught up to him, according to his mother. Her son was killed Feb. 19 in the 5300 block of South Hoyne Avenue, authorities said.
"It looked to me like they had it out for him,” she said.
Clifton Haralson was released from state prison Feb. 2, his mother said. He had been in for possession of a controlled substance, just one of several convictions related to drug possession and manufacturing, according to court records. Haralson had been living in a shelter on the West Side because his mother didn’t want the drugs in her home.
“He wasn’t a bad boy, he got messed up with the wrong bunch,” his mother said, adding that she doesn’t know if her son was in a gang.
“I know he hung with a lot of boys, but he didn’t let me know what he was doing,” she said. “Clifton wasn’t perfect.”
But a federal criminal complaint connected Haralson with the Damenville Gangster Disciples, a faction of the Gangster Disciples Nation that claimed territory in Englewood. In the complaint, Haralson is described as a “runner who was directly involved in the July 25, 2007 controlled buy of crack cocaine.”
Haralson, who had multiple facial tattoos, was one of 28 charged by federal authorities in May 2008 for conspiring to sell crack cocaine, according to federal court records. In June 2008, the charges against Haralson were dropped, court records show.
Subsequently, he was charged in Cook County for possession of a controlled substance and manufacturing and delivering heroin, according to court records. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison for the 2010 drug conviction.
Prior to that, he was convicted of other drug-related offenses, court records show.
After being released from prison, Haralson entered A Safe Haven, a shelter program that offers other opportunities to residents, his mother said. He had been working at the Chicago Auto Show through the program, his mother said, proudly holding up the nametag her son had worn at work.
“He loved me,” his mother said.