CHICAGO — The night before his murder while under house arrest, Brandon Miles told his younger sister he wanted to give up street life.
“I’m going to get out of here,” he told Nicole Miles. “This isn’t me. I’m not going to be doing this anymore. I can’t trust these people anymore.”
Brandon Miles, 19, was killed in the early morning of April 15 in his home on the 1000 block of North Waller Avenue. He was shot in the back twice while standing up by the living room window, according to authorities. His family says he was simply watching television at the time.
The family believes they know who pulled the trigger, but police haven’t made an arrest because witnesses haven’t come forward. They say there had been a fight in the house and the bullet was meant for someone else in the home.
The second eldest of four siblings, Miles had lived with friends in Austin since 2009, when the rest of his family left the neighborhood. His mother, Tyreshea Miles, says she has tried turning Brandon Miles away from street life, turning to potential mentors and putting him on the football team.
But his family says he fell into the wrong crowd. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to delivering controlled substances and was sentenced to 18 months of probation. His family says he wasn’t actively selling at the time, but was around people who were.
On March 31, Miles was put under electronic monitoring for possession of heroin, court records show. He was put under house arrest and was to remain at the house where he was shot, according to his family.
“As a mom you suspect something,” Tyreshea Miles said of her son’s illicit business dealings. “He was coming into the house with different types of shoes and video games. But he didn’t want to live that life forever.”
There were signs that he was ready to leave street life. A few weeks before his death, Brandon Miles chopped off his dreadlocks.
“When he cut his dreads, I knew he was ready to change,” Tyreshea Miles said.
Brandon Miles’ mother says that he often spoke of going to college and was constantly looking for a legitimate job. His mother says Miles was in position to graduate from Orr High School in 2012 and had dreams of opening a soul food restaurant.
Though he played on the football team, Miles’ athletic passion was swimming. He spent a summer as a lifeguard at the Orr Academy High School pool.
Miles’ family says he was an outspoken, outgoing person whose smile was the most noticeable thing about him. They also say he was a loving person who never let his mother go to be without eating and wanted to give his son anything he could buy.
“He was a great father,” said Tyreshea Miles about Brandon’s relationship with Jamarie Miles, his son who is now 4 years old. “He would give Jamarie whatever he’d need.”
Tyreshea Miles says her son’s death has yet to register with the child.
“Whenever we go past where Brandon’s wake was, Jamarie says, ‘When is daddy waking up?’” Tyreshea Miles.