ENGLEWOOD — It’s been nearly four months since Christopher Roundtree was murdered, and his family still doesn’t know why.
“I think [the police] are just putting it under ‘another black guy killed,’ and it’s nothing,” said his mother Arnise Roundtree, 47.
Her son, a 30-year-old father of two, was fatally shot in his abdomen about 2 a.m. Feb. 8 outside the Caribbean Lounge, 958 W. 69th St. He was rushed to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:30 a.m.
Very few leads have surfaced in the Englewood shooting, police said. No one was in custody as of early June, and the shooter has yet to be identified.
“I would like to know why” her son was killed, said Arnise Roundtree, who still calls detectives several times a week. “My son didn’t get into arguments and fights. He didn’t live that life. It’s so hard, and I can’t even answer why.”
Sitting in a family home in south suburban Crestwood, relatives remembered Roundtree as funny and “quiet until he got to know you.” At 6-foot-5, he excelled at basketball and often acted as a human jungle gym for his two kids, Christopher Jr. (CJ), 3, and Cherish, 2.
Roundtree briefly attended Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego, Calif., on a basketball scholarship, according to uncle Anthony Branch, 53. But the star center, who was extremely close to his family, left after one semester because “he was homesick.”
In 2012, Roundtree hit legal trouble when he pleaded guilty to two counts of selling a gun and was sentenced to one year in prison.
Family members insist Roundtree bought the gun in question legally, never used it and never intended to sell it. He couldn’t afford his bond, they said, and a guilty plea was the fastest way out of jail.
“He just wanted to get out,” aunt Regina Roundtree-Branch, 53, said. “He wanted to save his two jobs. He’s got kids, and Savette [his girlfriend of 16 years and the mother of his children] was in school.”
“If Chris actually sold guns, I wouldn’t have been in that neighborhood [Englewood],” Arnise Roundtree said. “I wouldn’t be on the bus every day and still have to go past where my son got murdered at. Guns and drugs run good in my neighborhood.”
Roundtree’s relatives said they had no idea why anyone would’ve killed him. The “playful” father went to work, participated in a Chicago Park District basketball league and spent his free time with his family.
“He didn’t get angry or let things bother him,” Roundtree-Branch said. “He had the softest voice. You wouldn’t expect for that voice to come out of someone that tall. He was a sweetheart.”
Roundtree’s gentle demeanor attracted a lot of women.
“The girls loved him, and they flocked to him like he was water and they were in the desert,” Roundtree-Branch said with a laugh. “He had swagger. They liked the way he dressed, and he was quiet.”
“I got tired of it,” Roundtree’s mother deadpanned. In high school, girls called and visited at all hours — which occasionally resulted in problems with jealous boyfriends.
“If we ever find out why” someone killed him, she said, “it’s probably going to be that some little boy was jealous that some girl liked him. Watch.”
Relatives said the unknowns in Roundtree’s case make it hard to heal. They’re angry that no one has come forward and are frustrated at the lack of progress.
Steve Sesso, a police spokesman, said all homicide cases remain open until solved.
“This is a hurt I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” Branch said.