'Tattoo Man' Killed in West Pullman
By Kiratiana Freelon on January 8, 2013 12:15am
WEST PULLMAN — Before he was shot and killed outside his West Pullman apartment on Sept. 25, Jermaine Carter left his mark on many people in the neighborhood.
Not only was Carter known around town as the “tattoo man” but his family said he was an everyman who knew no strangers.
“You talk about outgoing,” said his wife of five years, Valerie Carter. “No one was a stranger. He loved people.”
“If you needed a shirt, he would take his off his back and give it to you,” said Carter’s younger brother, Isaiah Walton Jr. “That’s the kind of person he was.”
Valerie Carter said she was waiting up for her husband to get home from giving a friend a haircut when she heard gunshots.
“I’m the type of person, I can’t sleep unless everyone is home,” she said. “I ran outside, and saw someone laying there. I was just praying because I felt like he was going to make it through.”
Valerie Carter and Carter’s mom, Yolanda Westbrooks, stood at the crime scene and watched the police and paramedics work. Carter was taken to Christ Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Carter's wife was adamant that her husband’s murder was not a gang-related incident.
“This violence is too much,” she said. “I can’t understand why people’s lives aren’t being taken seriously. He was a human being.”
Westbrooks said her first-born son was a family man, who loved and cared for his three children. Carter made a living as the neighborhood tattoo artist, a profession that showcased his natural artistic talent.
“I drew this picture of the Flintstones for him when he was six years old,” Westbrooks said. “He loved it so much that he started drawing.”
Valerie Carter said she would sometimes get frustrated because of her husband’s generosity in the tattoo business.
“If someone couldn’t pay for the tattoo, he’d say ‘Just bring me a beer,’” she said, laughing. “I’d say, ‘You should really charge more for that.'”
“He didn’t stress, I’m the stress-er,” Valerie Carter said. “He would make me realize that whatever we were going through, we were going to get by. He made me feel stable, like everything was okay.”