WEST ENGLEWOOD — A man on parole, known as an anchor of a South Side block, was gunned down in a gangway Wednesday, where neighbors mourned him hours after he was shot more than two dozen times.
Even 2-year-old Neveah Harland knew Dwayne Duckworth, 42, by his nickname "Duck," her mother, Trina Harland, said.
"He was a standup guy, he'd come out all the time and say, "Hey lil' ma," and she'd say "Hey Dut!" Harland said, adding that Duckworth would sometimes buy ice cream for the neighborhood kids.
But Duckworth had a history of dealing narcotics in the area, a police source said.
He was convicted on six gun-related charges, including manufacture or delivery of heroin and manufacture or delivery of cocaine, according to state records.
He was picked up on a gun-related offense in March 2012 and was on parole when he was gunned down, according to the state records.
Duckworth grew up in the area and moved away several years ago, but would come back regularly, neighbors said.
About 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, three people approached him in the 2000 block of West 70th Street in West Englewood, police said. At least one of those people fired shots that eventually killed him.
Neighbors, including Duckworth's best friend, Robert Johnson, told a similar story. In their version, though, the shooters wore masks.
Harland said she heard about 40 shots from her neighboring home, fired in rapid succession by two guns with distinctly different sounds. She said the shooters seemed to have stopped to reload before firing a second set.
"The police said he was hit 26 times," she said. "But he was still alive when I came out. He said, 'Trina is that you? I'm shot — get me out of this gangway.'"
"We thought he was gonna make it ... but he didn't want to die in the gangway."
A memorial of stuffed animals, photos and balloons was placed near the spot where Duckworth was shot. Friends worked Wednesday afternoon to wash away blood marking the spot where Duckworth lay in his last moments.
"Nobody saw this coming," Johnson said, recalling moments when Duckworth, a father of five, had helped him through hard financial times. "He was the best guy around here."
Duckworth's memorial was adorned in his favorite colors — white, purple and turquoise — the same palette he was always dressed in, neighbors said, even on the night he was shot.
"The whole block is furious about it," Harland said.
Police said Duckworth was affiliated with a gang and that the shooting was possibly gang-related.
While remembering Duckworth, Harland, along with several residents of the block, separately recalled the anniversary of Shakaki Asphy's slaying. The 16-year-old girl was gunned down on Father's Day last year.
"I was in her face as she died, too," Harland said, "I was holding her head, and I kept saying, 'You're gonna be OK, baby.' But she died too."
"Monday is Shakiki's day," one young resident said, pointing to the spot, only two homes away, where Asphy was shot while braiding a friend's hair.
"This is why I want to move," Harland said. "I've got to get us out of here."
Reporter Emily Morris contributed.