WEST GARFIELD PARK — In 2009, Mushun Franklin played in a basketball game against a team led by the pastor of the People's Church Of The Harvest.
There was a bet. If Franklin’s team lost, they’d have to go to church for a month.
Franklin’s team lost and he’s gone to church ever since.
That game changed his life and he hoped he could change the life of others as well.
“There really is not a good, positive role model for these kids out here,” said Kenya Franklin, his sister. “He was going to work with the pastor to get to these kids.”
Mushun Franklin was shot multiple times and killed on Sept. 28, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The shooting stemmed from an argument over “100 dollars” hours before his death, his mother said. Prior to leaving his apartment, Franklin, 33, had told his brother that he was going to a nearby gas station to pick up potato chips and that he would be back soon.
Franklin was killed that night of while walking on the sidewalk of the 3800 block of West Congress Parkway, blocks from his home, according to Chicago police. Another man approached Franklin on foot and opened fire, hitting him in the torso and neck.
Family members say police apprehended two suspects but had to release them because no witnesses came forward.
Franklin moved from Winona, Miss., about 90 minutes north of Jackson, to Chicago at the age of five. He attended Chalmers Elementary School before moving on to Crane Tech High School where he played on the basketball team.
“He was a great basketball player but he had a little attitude,” Kenya Franklin said. “He wanted everything to go his way.
Mushun Franklin has a criminal history dating back to 1996, according to Cook County court records. In 2001, he was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to dealing marijuana. The next year he pleaded guilty to a burglary charge and was sentenced to four years in prison. Most recently, he pleaded guilty to a domestic battery charge and received a conditional discharge without being put in jail.
Deloris Franklin, Mushun’s mother, acknowledges that her son was involved in gangs, but that he was trying to change his life. She and Kenya Franklin would constantly nag Mushun Franklin to stop his gang activities, but were unable to reach him.
Mushun Franklin had been released from prison four months before his death, according to his mother. He was arrested on drug charges.
“He realized there was no life in doing crime,” Kenya Franklin said.
Mushun Franklin didn’t graduate from high school, pushed out by the gang culture at Crane, according to his sister.
Franklin had a decent relationship with his three children who sometimes stayed with him on the weekend, his mother said. As with other children, he was playful with his own.
“He loved to play with kids,” his mother said. “He would never hurt them. It was a fun terrorizing.”
He also had dreams of becoming a storeowner, Kenya Franklin said, reminiscing about a visit to a glass repair shop the two had made a few years ago.
“He stood there in the middle of the floor and looked around saying, ‘I would like to do this someday,’” she said.