OLD TOWN — Tyshawn Blanton was on the way to the store to buy diapers for his newborn son when he was killed Tuesday night, his family and friends said.
Blanton, 31, was shot and killed outside a corner store in the 1300 block of North Sedgwick Street in Old Town, authorities said.
Police said Blanton was shot several times, and a 20-year-old man with him was shot once in the back of the head just outside the store. Blanton was pronounced dead at Illinois Masonic Medical Center around 7 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
No one was in custody in connection with the shooting as of Wednesday afternoon, according to police spokesman Officer Jose Estrada. Authorities said they are investigating if possible gang-ties played a role in the shooting.
But family and friends say Blanton was never affiliated in any way with a gang.
"My brother was in no form or fashion in a gang at all," his sister, Taza Blanton, said. "He has never been in a gang."
She said her brother "loved his family unconditionally. He had two sons, two daughters, three stepchildren and a fiancee."
She said her brother was currently living with his fiance and taking care of his 1-month-old son. She said Blanton and his fiance planned to marry this year.
Wednesday morning, Tonya McKinney made a makeshift memorial of flowers and balloons outside the store where Blanton was shot.
McKinney, who said she was lifelong friends with Blanton, said he grew up in the Cabrini-Green housing projects.
“He was just a real good guy, kind-hearted. You never heard about him fighting," McKinney said with tears in her eyes. "He would just mind his business, come hang with the guys and go home to his kids. He didn’t deserve it."
McKinney also said Blanton had never been in a gang, and she said neither was the other man who was shot outside the store. McKinney said she was "pissed off" when she heard reports that the shooting was gang-related.
"I guess it’s because of the area that they assume that, but neither one of them gangbang," McKinney said.
Taza Blanton wanted whoever killed her brother to know that the "senseless" act is affecting everyone in her community.
"It’s just a senseless killing, and it’s out of control," Blanton said. "It’s out of hand, and it’s like they have no remorse for anything they do."