Man Killed on West Side 'Always Had a Smile on His Face' Family Says

By Emily Morris and Geoff Ziezulewicz  on January 8, 2013 9:05am  | Updated on January 21, 2013 6:14pm

WEST GARFIELD PARK — A man found riddled with gunshot wounds on the West Side in January was later described by family as someone who cared deeply about his loved ones, though he had a troubled past.

Officers discovered the 24-year-old, identified as Darvelle Brown, in the 4000 block of West Wilcox Street on Jan. 8, authorities said. Police said they were called to the scene just before 6:10 a.m.

Brown was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 6:30 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

He was known to his family and friends as "D-boy" because of his boyish personality, according to his stepmom, Shiquita Davis.

"He was the clown of the family," Davis said.

He was also getting ready to become a father until his fiancé suffered a miscarriage about a week before his death, said his fiance, Sharlton "Shay" Jelks.

Both deaths have left her "devastated," Jelks, 19, said nearly three weeks after Brown was gunned down. Before Brown died, Jelks had never attended a funeral for someone so young, she said.

"I've been with him for so long that the simple things bring back memories," Jelks said, and referenced love letters she said Brown used to write her.

Brown's family lived in West Garfield Park some years ago, but since made the decision to escape the city's violence and move to North Chicago, his stepmom said. Davis said she also lost her brother about 10 years ago in a drive-by shooting, and "it feels like déjà vu."

Brown was sentenced to four years prison time on a narcotics charge, state records show. Brown was sent to a Cook County jail in 2010 and later to prison in February 2011, according to state records. He was released in May 2012 on parole, court records show.

His stepmom and his fiancé said they don't know what Brown was doing in West Garfield Park before he died, but said that he still had friends in the neighborhood.

 Near the scene where police say they discovered a 24-year-old man shot multiple times in the 4000 block of West Wilcox Street.
Near the scene where police say they discovered a 24-year-old man shot multiple times in the 4000 block of West Wilcox Street.
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DNAinfo/Geoff Ziezulewicz

Brown was excited to become a father and had a hard time after the miscarriage, Jelks said. But even when he was upset, Davis said her stepson tried to make the ones around him feel at ease.

"He always had a smile on his face," Davis said. "He had a smile that would brighten up any room."

Brown had wanted to get involved in Davis' private catering business and start his own company someday, Davis said.

Davis recalled through tears that Brown was just playing with his siblings during the holidays. Brown left behind more than 15 brothers and sisters, Davis said.

"He really loved to spend time with his family," Davis, 38, said. "He always wanted to take care of us."

Markers for four shell casings could be seen on the pavement leading up to a house on the scene that morning.

Neighbors stood watching police at the scene along a row of houses, some of which were boarded up.

"That house is always busy," said neighborhood resident Sequoyah White, 29. "Police is always running in and out of there."

Another resident, who declined to be named, said people keep quiet in this area, adding that the morning's shooter could be watching them right now.

"You got to mind your own damn business, and it will be all right," she said.

No suspects were in custody for the shooting, and the motive was unclear, police said.

Davis said she'd heard his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong, but police told her they hadn't determined what happened to her stepson.

Jelks also said her fiance's death was a mystery to her.

"I just wish the person who did this would have some type of dignity and turned themselves in, because they have taken away so much from us," Davis said.

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