WEST ENGLEWOOD — Neighbors said Demarco Powell and Steven Marshall had been hanging out on the corner of 73rd Place and Laflin Street since they were kids.
Powell lived on that corner, and Marshall grew up just down the street in the 1400 block of West 74th Street.
On Wednesday night, Powell, Marshall and two other friends were sitting in Powell's black SUV near the corner talking with a friend who was standing outside the car. About 6:20 p.m., two men approached the SUV from 74th Street and began shooting.
Powell, 28, tried to drive north to get away, but he was shot in his head and crashed into a nearby tree, neighbors and authorities said. Police found Powell dead on the scene.
Marshall, also 28, was shot in his back and was rushed in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. He was pronounced dead there at 7:05 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
On Thursday, friends and neighbors gathered to build a makeshift memorial to Powell and Marshall. Many said they had known the men for years and told stories of playing games or building clubhouses in the neighborhood when they were kids.
One man who said he was a cousin of Powell described the death of the two men as a blow to their community.
"Around here, it's like the Sears Tower getting torn down," said the man, who declined to be named.
The two other men in the car Wednesday night were also wounded. A 27-year-old was shot in his buttocks and was taken to Stroger Hospital where his condition stabilized. A 26-year-old was shot in his shoulder and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where his condition also stabilized, police said.
The 23-year-old man standing outside the car was injured by glass in the shooting and was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in good condition.
Of the shooting victims, neighbors said the 27-year-old man was doing well but the 26-year-old man was still in the hospital "fighting for his life."
No one was in custody in connection with the shooting as of Thursday.
None of the injured men had any known gang affiliations, authorities said. At the makeshift memorial Thursday, neighbors echoed that, saying Powell and Marshall were innocent victims of back-and-fourth violence between groups in the neighborhood.
One woman, who said she knew the two men since grade school, said the conflict was between two groups on either side of Ashland Avenue, which is a block west of where the shooting took place. The woman, who declined to be named because she feared retaliation, said the beef has been going on for more than a decade.
"They coming over here dropping bodies," she said. "They coming over here killing."
Including Wednesday's shooting, at least seven people have been shot within a block of of 73rd Place and Laflin Street alone since May, and another person, 16-year-old boy, was gunned down on the block in March 2012.
Neighbors said they wanted to see increased police foot patrols in the area to curb shootings, as well as more activities for neighborhood youth.
George Saffold, who lives across the street from Powell, said he knew Powell and Marshall since they were boys. Like others, Saffold described the two as good people.
"I was surprised to see Steve got caught up in that," Saffold said, adding Marshall would always stop to talk to him.
Saffold said he remembers Powell running through his yard as a boy on his way to school. Powell would get yelled at for "turning my lawn into a football field," he said.
"So he was a little quieter around me," Saffold said with a smile.
Standing on his front porch Thursday, Marshall's grandfather, Lawrence Bilberry, said he was taking the news of his grandson's death hard.
"He was a kind, quiet guy. He wasn't a rowdy guy," Bilberry said, "He wasn't in no gang. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time I guess."