CHICAGO LAWN — Hours after Jeremiah “JB” Brown was shot dead, friends and family could still be seen hugging in the street as they mourned the slain father near his childhood home.
“It’s a bit of a shock to everybody,” said one neighbor, who, like several interviewed, asked not to be named. “He surely will be missed because we don’t get too many good kids like that.”
Brown, 27, was fatally shot in his chest about 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the 6300 block of South Kedzie Avenue. Neighbors claim Brown, who was pronounced dead on the scene at 5:31 p.m., was helping a robbery victim when he got shot. Police couldn't confirm the story Friday.
On Friday morning, friends and neighbors in the 6200 block of South Albany Avenue shared stories about Brown, who lived on the quiet, "close-knit" street most of his life.
“I can’t stress how much he was helpful to people,” the neighbor said, noting that Brown was always quick to offer a ride. “’You need to go the doctor? I’ll take you. You need to go to Social Security? I’ll take you.’ And then you would try to give him money, and he wouldn’t take it.”
Brown, a commercial truck driver who made cross-country hauls, was known as respectful, fun-loving and smart.
“He was a positive thinker. He was headstrong on a lot of issues,” said Matt, Brown’s closest friend, who declined to give his last name.
“When we were around our friends, we would get it cracking. We used to roast each other. You would’ve liked him.”
Brown often joined Matt’s relatives in their back yard to watch football games because “we thought it would be safer,” Matt’s father said.
“We’d have some brewskies and a little tomfoolery there, but for the most part, we couldn’t find a better kid … Despite the way the city is, he still maintained a boyishness.”
After Brown was killed Thursday, relatives — including Brown’s kindergarten-age son — flocked to the shooting site.
“The body was laying down there for like five or six hours,” Matt said, “so the child had to see his dad laying on the ground. No ambulance came. It was horrible.”
Neighbors believe Brown was killed while trying to break up a robbery near the neighborhood Walgreens, 6315 S. Kedzie Ave.
Brown “was trying to take up for somebody who got robbed. He was fighting somebody… He chased him, and [the man] shot him in the chest.
“It was just someone trying to do the right thing and end up in the wrong way,” Matt said.
Police couldn’t confirm the neighbors’ story Friday because detectives were still investigating, said Officer Jose Estrada, a police spokesman.