OAK PARK — Kimesha Tompkins planned to spend Friday celebrating her 26th birthday with a party at her parents’ Oak Park home.
Instead, Tompkins ushered in the day with tears as her family mourned the loss of her little brother, Alexander “AJ” Mayo, who was slain a couple hours prior.
Mayo, a 19-year-old graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, was visiting friends and relatives in North Lawndale Thursday, his family said.
After Mayo walked a female friend home — to keep her safe — he turned and headed toward his aunt’s house, family said. On the way, Mayo was gunned down in the 1300 block of South Avers Avenue about 1:25 p.m.
He was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m.
Relatives and neighbors said they thought the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. Police didn’t have anyone in custody Friday and didn’t offer many details.
“I’m tired of this senseless violence,” said Mayo’s father, 52-year-old Tony Mayo. “He didn’t even make the news. They talked about a man shot Downtown, but they didn’t say anything about my son."
Tony Mayo said he worried about his son spending so much time in Chicago because “There were shootings in the neighborhood in the last couple months.” But Alexander Mayo was “very sociable,” his father said, and that’s where his friends were.
“I told him to stay out of there — to be careful when he was over there — and he didn’t listen.”
Sitting in his Oak Park home Friday morning, Tony Mayo described his son as adventurous and charismatic. The teen “liked to explore,” loved to travel and made friends easily, his dad said.
“He could get out of a jam in a heartbeat just by opening up his mouth and smiling,” Tony Mayo said. “He’s a charmer.”
Tony Mayo, a software consultant, often took his son along on business trips. Alexander Mayo had traveled across the United States and was especially proud of his “gold status” on American Airlines, his dad said.
His free-spirited nature made it hard for him to choose a career, family said. The teen tried several jobs after graduating from high school in 2012 and was recently accepted to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.
He loved to cook and grilled to perfection, Tony Mayo said.
Alexander Mayo was close to his family — especially his mother, Kim Mayo. And he was protective of his two older sisters: Latessa Moore, 32, and Tompkins, 26.
“There was this one time — Alex couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old — and [his sisters] took him out to the mall,” Tony Mayo said. “Some guys were trying to talk to one of my daughters, and Alex goes, ‘You leave my sister alone.’ They just laughed.”
Tony Mayo smiled as he recalled the story. He settled back into his armchair and sighed.
“I miss him."