CHICAGO — Joyce Kizart moved out of Cabrini Green when her son Taki Crews was just a toddler, hoping he would grow up away from the crime-ridden housing project.
But, decades later, violence still claimed him, miles away from Cabrini.
On March 2, Crews, 34, was shot multiple times in the 700 block of North Central Avenue on the West Side, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. No one has been charged with his murder.
Crews grew up without a father and was searching for a male role model for most of his life, Kizart, 58, said.
“He got caught up in the streets,” she said. “He lost his dad, and when my mother passed away eight years ago, it really took a toll on him.”
Crews’ criminal history included multiple weapons and drug offenses, but his mother said he was trying to turn his life around.
“He was looking for a male role model in his life and he wanted to be a role model to other kids,” Kizart said. “He said, ‘Mom, a lot of kids are innocent and they get their innocence snatched away from them when they are younger.' ”
Kizart moved to Austin to be with her parents while raising Crews. Since the murder, she has left the neighborhood, scared for her own safety.
“I just moved. It blew me away,” she said in September. “That was my only son, so I loved him dearly.”
She still keeps a photo of Crews on her refrigerator.
“In the end, it was always just me and him, I had no one else in my life,” she said.
Former neighbor Robert Reed watched Kizart raise her son, and was not surprised that she left after his death.
“It was her only child, that’s why she took it so hard,” Reed said. “His mother got so discouraged, there were too many bad memories here."
Reed said Crews was a quiet man, but was a smooth talker and the two would often rap together.
“He kept telling me about the visions he had for his life," Reed said.