BRONZEVILLE — Jeremy Morris was working hard in the weeks before the expected birth of his child by going to school and following his dream to become a chef, his father said.
"There comes a time in a man's life where you wake up and grow up," Carl Morris said.
The impending arrival of Jeremy Morris' second child, a boy, in August was just the push his son needed.
Morris, 25, was attending culinary school at Kennedy-King College and hoping to make a career of a skill passed down through his family.
"He was a pretty good cook. He picked it up from myself and my dad," said Carl Morris, 55, a Postal Service worker who noted that his son loved to cook steak, vegetables and pasta with his own twist.
With his child's birth approaching, Jeremy Morris realized, "Dad, I need a job."
"He was starting to grow up. He had started to get a job, started to take and assume responsibility," Carl Morris said.
But Jeremy Morris wouldn't live to see the birth of his child. He was shot and killed as he sat in a car in South Shore on July 5, authorities said.
Carl Morris said growing up, he told his children if they "stay out of trouble" he could get them a job with the postal service. Instead, Jeremy Morris ended up with a felony conviction and was forced to take a cleaning job, his father said.
Carl Morris said his son was "by no means a saint" and "did some things in his day."
"They liked playing with guns, so they had felonies," Morris said, explaining why his son's job search was stifled.
He recalled seeing his son alive for the last time when he left their apartment in the 5000 block of South Champlain Avenue on the night of July 5.
"I watched him walk down the street to the bus stop. I never thought that'd be the last time I'd see my son," said Carl Morris, fighting back tears. "He waved, I waved, and that was it."
That Friday night, as Jeremy Morris sat in a car in the 6800 block of South Paxton Avenue, two men walked up and opened fire. He was pronounced dead at the scene about 10:30 p.m., authorities said.
"All I understand is he took someone over to their sister's house," Carl Morris said. "He was sitting in the car, and someone started shooting."
Carl Morris said he would put the fate of his son's killers into the hands of God — and not take it into his own.
"I'm mad, but I'm 55 years old. I'm an adult. The things I used to do, I don't do anymore," Morris said in front his apartment Wednesday as his family planned his son's funeral.
"The gang I run with is my father in heaven. He's going to take care of that. [The shooters] have been cursed by their own means," Morris said.
His son "was just a young man trying to get back on the right path. These gang things are senseless and stupid," he said.
Morris described the situation as "the crack theory":
"No matter how much you want to quit it, you can't. It's destroying our young men," he said.
"As soon as you pick it up, it's over."