SOUTH CHICAGO — When Tyrone Hart traveled to Atlanta for his sister’s wedding this fall, he was going to stay there, his family said.
The 18-year-old — who earlier this year witnessed a friend being murdered — was hoping to escape gang violence, and his oldest sister, Candice Hart, said she would take him in.
“It was like, 'You need to go because there’s nothing here in Chicago,'” said Tina Hart, another of his three sisters. “You’re going to jail, or you’re going to die. I guess we were too late.”
On Tuesday, Tyrone Hart was gunned down in front of his South Chicago home.
According to police, three men in a Nissan pulled up next to Hart in the 8100 block of South Chappel Avenue about 7:45 p.m. At least one man began shooting, striking Hart in his chest.
The teen was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at 8:24 p.m. Tuesday.
His family said Hart was targeted by gang members because several of his cousins and close friends are in a gang. Since Hart spent so much time with them, his relatives said, he was mistaken for a member and singled out in a retaliation shooting.
“It’s nothing that he did. It was the company that he kept,” said Tina Hart, 26. These shootings “have been going on for a while now. It’s one side against the other — just back and forth.”
Police said Tyrone Hart did not have any documented gang ties. No one was in custody for the shooting Wednesday.
Tina Hart remembered her brother as “goofy,” “sweet” and “sensitive.” He liked to make people laugh and spent most of his time hanging out with friends or playing video games.
As the youngest of four siblings — and the only boy — Tyrone Hart “got away with everything,” Tina Hart said with a laugh. “It was smooth for him.”
The teen, who was working toward his GED, was close to his family, his sister said. He spent a lot of time with his niece and nephew, and on Monday staged a water fight during his nephew’s birthday party.
“He made their day,” Tina Hart said. “They would run to him when they heard the door open.”
Tyrone Hart didn’t want to leave Chicago, his sister said. His friends were here, and he thought it would be hard to start over someplace new.
But his grandmother, who raised the siblings with her husband, died two weeks ago. And Hart's close friend, 24-year-old Raymond Tucker, was shot dead on March 8. The deaths took a toll.
“Tyrone was right there when they killed" Tucker, Tina Hart said. “It was time for him to go. … He was getting ready to leave.
“He tried so hard to get his life together. I just wish he could’ve done better.”