SOUTH CHICAGO — A kitten rubbed against Lonzie Obannon's legs as he sat in his backyard Friday. He said he usually does not bother with pets — or most people for that matter — but he has decided to keep the kitten, which he recently named Destiny.
Obannon said Destiny had been lost earlier in the week. He said he and his close friend, Linda Williams, had been searching for the kitten in the alley behind his home on Wednesday after hearing it "meow," but they could not find it.
Later that day, Obannon said he finally found Destiny.
"I said, 'I can't wait to tell Linda that I found him,'" Obannon said. "Soon as I said that, the police were knocking on my door."
Police came to tell him Linda Williams had been killed, one of five gunned down in a 12-hour span Wednesday. She had been shot in the head about a block from Obannon's South Chicago home. No one has been charged in the killing.
Neighbors say it's a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"It threw me through a loop," Obannon said.
While on patrol, police heard gunshots and found Williams, 56, lying in the 1700 block of East 79th Street about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, said Officer Amina Greer, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
Williams was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead at 1:43 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Officials listed her as living at Obannon's home. Obannon said Williams used to live with him when the two dated but had moved out years ago and had been staying with friends from around the neighborhood.
Obannon said Williams, a mother of five, had her problems. He described his friend of more than 10 years as "a typical victim" of the neighborhood. She may have had kids too early, he said. She struggled with drugs in the past.
But for Obannon, there was also something special about Williams.
"She was a diamond in the rough that never got the chance to get polished off," he said.
Williams was caring and made him feel appreciated, he explained. She was a great dancer who was always asked by friends to do her "James Brown" dance, and she had a great smile.
"She was the type of person who made everyone she met feel interesting, and she was genuine about it," Obannon said.
In his backyard Friday, Obannon brought out a tray of cat food for Destiny. He said his kitten's name is an homage to Williams.
He said when the two first met, Williams told him something over and over again.
"She always used to say, 'You're my destiny,'" he said, smiling. "Lonzie, you're my destiny."