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'He Took Three Breaths and He Was Gone': New Dad Killed On Englewood Street

By Darryl Holliday | June 14, 2013 9:33am
 Robert Allen, 19, would have celebrated his birthday and first Father's Day as a dad Sunday.
'He Took Three Breaths and He Was Gone:' Family
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ENGLEWOOD — A teen killed Thursday morning would have celebrated his birthday and his first Father's Day as a dad on Sunday, relatives said.

Robert Allen would have turned 20 on Sunday, said his girlfriend, Patrice Smith. The two would have also spent the day with their 8-month-old daughter, Rakiah.

But their plans were cut short when Allen was targeted and shot to death near the house he grew up in on the 4600 block of South Normal Avenue in Englewood.

Police said Allen had just gotten out of his car about 2:30 a.m. when he was walking through a nearby gangway. A shooter inside a passing sedan opened fire, striking him in the abdomen.

Smith said she got up immediately and ran from her home, more than a mile away, when she heard the news. But she didn't make it to him in time to say goodbye.

"I would tell him thanks for everything he did, for taking care of me and my baby," she said near the slain teen's makeshift memorial Thursday afternoon. "I would tell him we love him, always and forever; can't nothin' change that."

The two met in 2010 at Kennedy-King College, where Allen was studying to be a carpenter. The rest, according to Smith, is history; she was drawn to his humor and charm — the two fell in love.

A tattoo of her baby daughter's name is visible on Smith's neck. She and Allen got matching tattoos about a month ago, she said; his was on his right wrist.

"How do I tell her her dad's not here anymore?" she asked.

Dozens of family members and friends mourned in Allen's childhood home Thursday.

Armeese Tillman, Allen's cousin, was one of those gathered. She said four shots were aimed at Allen Thursday, one of which hit him in the stomach, piercing his lung.

"He was going in for the night ... they shouted his name from the car before they shot him," she said. "He was just breathing after, he took three breaths and he was gone."

Though Tillman acknowledged an ongoing feud between rival groups in the area, she said Allen was not involved with a gang.

Police say Allen does have a gang affiliation, but it's unclear if the shooting was gang-related.

No one was in custody as of Thursday night, police said.