GAGE PARK — The day after he was killed, Willie Stallworth’s family found out he’d been accepted to carpentry school.
“That was kind of ironic,” said his grieving mother, Paula Stallworth. “He had finally figured at 30 what he wanted he do.”
On June 4, Stallworth, 31, and his uncle, Michael Stallworth, 54, went to a Walgreens in the 7100 block of South Western Avenue for a pack of Flaming Hot Cheetos and a Pepsi, his family said.
There Demonte Williams, 23, allegedly tried to rob the pair, according to court documents. Williams shot at both Stallworths and struck Willie Stallworth in the chest, according to court records and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Michael Stallworth was shot in the chest but survived, family said.
Williams, 23, was charged with Willie Stallworth’s murder and with the attempted murder of his uncle, records show.
“He was just choosing to do a robbery,” Paula Stallworth said. “Michael and Willie were the people that he chose.”
Willie Stallworth Sr., the victim's father, said that he didn't think the suspect got anything from the robbery.
“He just took my son's life and injured my brother for the rest of his life,” he said.
It had not been easy for Stallworth to find work. He had felony convictions for possession of drugs and possession of a stolen vehicle, court records show.
“He’d go and apply for jobs and once they realized he had a felony no one would hire him,” his mother said. “He was a good worker, he believed in work. He just messed his life up in the beginning.”
But with the help of a childhood sweetheart whom he planned to marry, Stallworth was beginning to get his life straightened out.
Though his focus was finding work, Stallworth also devoted himself to family, including his nephew whom he doted on.
Stallworth was was good with his hands and had applied to carpentry school.
“I received a letter the next day after his death that he had been accepted into the program, which would have changed his life,” Stallworth Sr., said. "He was just trying to get a foothold in something and that happened to pan into something a day late.
“It was very emotional to see that to see he would have had an opportunity to do something.”