BEVERLY — Susan Tranchita remembers her granddaughter as a girl with a "devil may care attitude" who loved hanging out with her friends and said exactly what was on her mind.
"She lived for the minute and never worried about tomorrow," Tranchita said.
Taylor Fitting, 16, died after being shot multiple times on Nov. 12, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
Fitting was in a car with friends near 112th Street and Normal Avenue about 9 p.m. when bullets flew through an open window and hit her, according to police and friends of the victim.
Fitting grew up in her grandmother's home in the 9300 block of South Winchester Avenue and always had an independent spirit, Tranchita said. As a toddler still in diapers, Fitting crawled her way to a family friend's home two blocks away. She was brought back safe and sound.
"She always did what she wanted to do," Tranchita said.
Fitting had a close group of friends who made Tranchita's Beverly two-story their second home. Gabe Forgue, 16, began dating Fitting in January.
She always "told you what she thought," Forgue said. "She was loving too. Since we started dating, I haven't spent a day without her."
The day of her death was like any other. Tranchita had taken her granddaughter, Forgue and their friend Jakayla Jefferson, 16, to a nearby hot dog joint. Fitting got her standard burger, cheese fries and lemonade strawberry slushie, Jefferson said.
After watching a movie at home, Fitting decided to go out with a group of friends shortly before 9 p.m.
Jefferson said she had no reason to believe that anyone in the car was targeted by the shooter.
Forgue, who wasn't in the car but at Fitting's house, received a call that Fitting had been shot. Forgue and Tranchita rushed to Roseland to check on Fitting.
Four years ago Fitting and her mother moved away to Tinley Park, but the restless preteen made her way back to Chicago to live with her grandmother. Tranchita struggled with her granddaughter, the youngest of three siblings, especially when it came to school. Fitting loved snapping photos with her phone and wanted to be a professional photographer.
Tranchita told Fitting that she needed to take school seriously if she wanted to have such a career, but found it tough to get her granddaughter to value education. Tranchita calls Fitting a "perpetual freshman" who spent all of the 2011-2012 school year at Morgan Park High School ditching class after she was dropped off in the morning.
Tranchita said Fitting never got into real trouble, though has been caught stealing things like nail polish.
"I was constantly yelling at her, but she will always be my baby," Tranchita said.