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'We Heard This Real Loud BOOM': Man Crashes Into Garage After Being Shot

By Erica Demarest | April 26, 2013 7:07am | Updated on April 27, 2013 9:26am
  A man was sent to the hospital after a wreck in the 11500 block of South Lowe Avenue, police said.
West Pullman Shooting Ends in Car Crash, Sending Driver to Hospital
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WEST PULLMAN — A man who crashed his car into a West Pullman garage after he was shot twice while driving Friday morning has died, officials said.

Dionta West, 38, of the 600 block of West 117th Street, was pronounced dead at 9:29 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Someone shot at West through the passenger side of his car in the 600 block of West 117th Street about 5:48 a.m., said Officer Ron Gaines, a police spokesman.

Witnesses said West drove through an alley before crashing into a parked minivan and a garage in the 600 block of West 116th Street.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he later died — making him the second person to be fatally shot while driving his car in the neighborhood this week.

"I was asleep. We heard this real loud BOOM," said Nona Wilburn, an 84-year-old woman whose garage was damaged in the crash. "I thought it was someone hitting those speed bumps."

Wilburn has lived in the house for more than two decades. She says the neighborhood has become less safe and louder as the number of abandoned homes increased in recent years.

"It was nice when we first moved out here. Everybody kept up their yard. Didn't nobody bother nobody else," Wilburn said.

Neighbors said Friday's shooting was likely a robbery gone wrong.

Longtime neighborhood resident Michelle Grasken said the victim, who lives nearby, wasn't a gang member and is the kind of person who "drove down the block honking his horn and saying hello to everybody."

She said there has been an increase in stickups in the neighborhood recently and said the victim likely was targeted because his car had 24-inch rims.

"The guys who move over here in this neighborhood, I think it's about jealousy," Grasken said.

Dane Whitfield, a 31-year-old West Pullman man, was shot dead Wednesday while driving a car a half-mile away from the site of Friday's shooting.

Members of Roseland CeaseFire were at the crime scene Friday morning to get ahead of any retaliation. 

Bob Jackson, the organization's executive director, said recent violence comes from people feeling desperate.

"Recently, we've been having quite a bit of people coming back to the community, either from other areas or prison," Jackson said. "People need money. It's a bad economy and people need jobs."