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Victor Damian, 15, Was Held and Shot at Point-Blank Range: Witnesses

By Darryl Holliday | March 19, 2013 6:19pm | Updated on March 19, 2013 6:44pm

LITTLE VILLAGE — A gunman approached 15-year-old Victor Damian from behind and shot him in the head three times at point-blank range last weekend, witnesses said Tuesday.

The shots struck Damian — known as "King Smokes" — in the back of his head and his jaw. He was pronounced dead Monday night.

A Facebook memorial page set up in Damian's honor had more than 740 "Likes" as of Tuesday evening. A memorial of nearly two dozen candles, some broken, and a few handwritten notes could be seen Tuesday on the 2800 block of South Spaulding Avenue where he was shot.

At 4:20 p.m. Sunday, Chicago Police spokesman Veejay Zala said, Damian "was on the sidewalk flashing gang signs when an unknown offender exited a vehicle and began firing shots."

Witnesses, who asked not to be named out of fear of retaliation, said the gunman was one of four people in a blue sedan that pulled up beside the teen.  A friend said Damian had just sent a text and was planning to go visit his father.

Witnesses said they saw the gunman walk up to Damian from behind, grab his neck and shoot him. 

One woman, who saw the incident from a half-block away, said the shooter left nonchalantly.

"This block is OK, but my gosh — they just kill like that," she said. "After the man shot [Damian] he walked off like it was nothing. It was so quiet out."

Another neighbor heard three shots and then looked out the window and saw Damian lying face-up on the sidewalk.

"They sounded like firecrackers," she said. "He was laying right here."

She suspects the men in the car were members of a rival gang. Damian can be seen in several Facebook photos flashing Latin Kings gang signs.

"We wanted to help him, but we didn't want to move him and hurt him more," she said. "Later when we were cleaning his blood away, like, six of his friends were watching us at the corner.

"They just watched us clean — didn't help or nothing."

Zala said there were no suspects in the case as of Tuesday.

Regardless of his gang-affiliation, neighbors said the teen was kind and respectful when he was with them.

"You love a person for who they are, not what they are," one said after paying her respects at his memorial.

Damian was pronounced dead at Mt. Sinai hospital Monday night at 11:40 p.m. His shooting occurred on a day when a sudden spike of shootings left five wounded on the West Side in one hour.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, Damian was brain dead when he was pronounced.

Family members could not be reached for comment.