WEST PULLMAN — A father-daughter weekend was cut short before it even began when Dionta West was gunned down in front of his house over what family members called a carjacking gone wrong.
The 38-year-old father of four had just left his home in the 600 block of West 117th Street on April 26 when he was shot through the passenger side of his car about 5:45 a.m.
West, who had been heading to work, drove through an alley before crashing into a garage two streets away. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:29 a.m.
That morning, family members said, West’s 18-year-old daughter Shaquilla — who was pregnant with what would’ve been West’s first grandchild — was making her way to West Pullman to visit her dad.
“She had come out here the day that he got killed to show him her diploma,” said Andrea West, Dionta West’s mother. “They were going to have a father-daughter weekend. By the time she got here, her father had passed.”
Family and neighbors believe West was targeted for his car, which boasted 24-inch rims.
“That’s the kind of car he wanted," his mother said, "so that’s the kind of car he bought. He worked hard for it.”
West served as the custodial supervisor at CICS Prairie, a Chicago charter school. He liked to fix things, his mother said, and when children would act up, they’d be sent to Mr. West so he could “put 'em to work” on projects.
Students and teachers came out in droves for West's funeral, his mother said. She described her son as a "real family man" who worked hard and was a great father to his kids. He liked to barbecue, and he loved video games.
“You’d get him going,” his mother said, “and he’d sit there until his thumbs went numb.”
Andrea West had been a single mother for most of her son’s life, and the two were especially close.
“He would call me every morning [on his break] between 10 and 11, and say, ‘What’s up, baby?’” she said. “We’d talk about the kids, what’s up at school, the different houses we’d looked at online, and then I’d say, ‘I love you,’ and he would say, ‘I love you back, baby.’ And I’m going to miss that.”
Since West's murder, his fiancée and two younger sons have moved out of their West Pullman home, Andrea West said. The family couldn’t bear to stay in the neighborhood.
West Pullman "is a high-crime area,” Andrea West said. “We were getting ready to buy a house outside of that neighborhood.”
Cousin Chris Eason, 42, donated his time to a Roseland CeaseFire event the day after West was killed.
“He had no reason losing his life to this senseless killing,” Eason said. “Anything that can shine light on the violence happening in Roseland right now is going to help. It’s not just an African-American problem. It’s like an epidemic. It’s a disease.”