GAGE PARK — Gloria Howard and Arrell Monegan had already lost their mom in a car crash when they were both very young.
On Saturday, Gloria lost Arrell too.
The 16-year-old South Chicago boy was gunned down in the city's Gage Park neighborhood.
"I don't feel right," 14-year-old Gloria said Monday. "My brother was like my right hand. He was the only one there for me."
On Monday, Howard and other family members said they want answers about who killed Arrell. They think his death was a case of mistaken identity, they said.
Arrell, of the 7900 block of South Escanaba Avenue, was shot about 7 p.m. Saturday in the 2400 block of West 58th Street, authorities said.
Friends who were with Arrell at the time of the shooting said they were standing near 58th Street and Artesian Avenue when a shooter emerged from a gangway and opened fire. The teens turned to run and Arrell was hit, they said.
Arrell was struck in the shoulder and back and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious condition, police said. He died from his injuries at 8:23 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
Arrell's cousin, Barry Nelson, said he was hanging out with Arrell at a house on the block about 20 minutes before the shooting. Nelson said his cousin was outside waiting for a barber to come and cut his hair.
"He was going to get his hair lined up," Nelson said. "That's the reason why he came out the house."
A neighbor who asked to be identified as Samantha said she heard the shots and came outside and found Arrell on the ground. She said she and another woman stayed with Arrell and tried "to keep him calm" until the ambulance arrived.
"He wasn't hollering or anything," she said. "He just said it hurt."
Samantha said Arrell hung out on her block a lot. She said the teen was not attending high school, and she tried to persuade him to go back. Family said he was in the process of enrolling at an alternative high school when he was killed. Samantha said she talked with Arrell again last week about his future.
"I prayed with him just last Tuesday, and now he's gone," she said.
On Monday morning, Nelson stood on the corner where his cousin was gunned down. A makeshift memorial was set up with balloons, empty bottles and posters that read "R.I.P. Ace Boogie," Arrell's nickname.
Nelson smiled as he remembered his cousin. He described Arrell as funny, cool and always "real."
"I can't do nothing but smile," Nelson said. "I ain't going to sit here and cry because I already did enough of that."
Family and friends said about an hour before the shooting, a man was jumped inside Clown's Snack Shop on Western Avenue, a block from the shooting site. Employees at the restaurant confirmed a man was attacked by a group of men about 6 p.m. Saturday.
Family and friends said Monday they believe the man who was jumped came back with a gun and, mistaking Arrell and his friends for the men that jumped him, opened fire on the group in retaliation.
Police said Monday night the investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made. Authorities said there is no indication the murder was gang-related.
Nelson said his cousin had been arrested for minor offenses like breaking curfew, but he, other family members and neighbors said Arrell was not a gang-bangera or a violent person.
"He wasn't like other 16-year-olds out here," Nelson said. "This wasn't meant for him. It's still unbelievable to me."
Russell Jackson, who said he was Arrell's grandfather, said his grandson was good person. He said Arrell stuck up for himself, respected his elders and was "trying to become a man."
"I'm not saying he was the best kid in the world, but he wasn't bad," Jackson said.
Jackson said Arrell in 2008, Arrell's uncle, Shavel Monegan, was shot and killed. And in 1999, Arrell's mother was killed in a car crash. His younger sister Gloria was just a baby at the time and said she does not remember her mother.
Now, with her only brother gone too, Gloria said she wants closure. She and other family members want to see her brother's killer behind bars.
"I want some answers," Gloria said. "I don't feel right."