CHICAGO — A Belmont Cragin man fatally shot in Humboldt Park was remembered Thursday by friends and co-workers as a hardworking baseball fanatic who knew everyone.
Ramon Colon, 24, left his cousin's house and was waiting for a ride about 8:40 p.m. Wednesday near North St. Louis Avenue and West Hirsch Street when a gunman approached him and fired, friends and police said.
Colon, whom friends called "Cheeks," was shot in his head and taken to Norwegian American Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m., authorities said.
No one else was injured in the shooting, police said, and no suspects are in custody.
A Humboldt Park resident who asked that her name not be used said she was watching TV when she heard three shots outside that sounded "like firecrackers."
She looked out the window and saw a hooded gunman standing a few feet from Colon, holding what appeared to be a hunting rifle.
The gunman looked unfazed, as if "He came to do what he was doing," she said.
"The guy was standing there like nothing, waiting for his friend," she said. Another man approached him and they both ran away, she said.
The resident said she had known Colon since they were young.
"The whole block knew him," she said. "He grew up here since he was little."
This stretch of Humboldt Park had seen a crime drop in recent years, she said, adding she hopes Colon's killer is found.
"I have a picture of this guy still in my head," she said. "He looked like he didn't care. This won't be his last."
Colon had friends who were in gangs, but he was not into crime, said Orlando Cintron, a CeaseFire worker whose nephew was best friends with Colon.
"He knew a lot of them," Cintron said Thursday morning, near a makeshift memorial for Colon. "He got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess."
Colon grew up in Humboldt Park but had recently moved to Belmont Cragin, he said.
The stocky 24-year-old had worked as a robotics welder at Freedman Seating Company on Augusta Boulevard for a little more than two years, human resources manager Joel Velazquez said.
Velazquez said news of Colon's death Thursday morning came as a shock to employees.
He said he last saw Colon Wednesday when Colon's shift ended at 3:30 p.m. and he left to work out with a co-worker, Velazquez said.
"He was a good kid," he said. "A young kid."
Colon was a fan of the Cubs, Velazquez recalled, and played in a local baseball league at Hanson Park. Velazquez, a White Sox fan, said he enjoyed ribbing the hardworking Colon about his team.
Employees are collecting donations to help pay for Colon's funeral, he said.
Velazquez is unsure if police will label the murder gang-related because of the neighborhood in which it occurred.
He said it shouldn't be.
"I'd bet a lot to say he wasn't," Velazquez said. "And word around here is he isn't."
"You'd hate to have him tagged as one of those guys," he said. "The first thing you'd think about him is that he is a clean-cut kid."