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Man, Killed in Front of Grandmother's Home, Wanted to Leave South Side

By Josh McGhee | November 9, 2013 9:13am
 Phillip Curtis, 21, was shot to death Wednesday afternoon in the 8700 block of South Loomis Street.
Phillip Curtis, 21, was shot to death Wednesday afternoon in the 8700 block of South Loomis Street.
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Bilnetra Murdock

AUBURN GRESHAM — Phillip Curtis always told his mother, "Mama, get us off the South Side."

Days after Curtis, 21, was fatally shot in front of his grandmother's window, his mother, Bilentra Murdock said she should have listened to him.

"You never think about this. I was supposed to be gone," Bilnetra Murdock said recalling the advice from her son.

Curtis called his mother early Wednesday for directions to his interview at Starbucks. Murdock intended to call and ask how the interview went, but she never got the chance while busy at work.

"All day I wanted to call and see how it went," she said.

After the interview, Curtis took the bus to his grandmother's house, she said, recalling the events as told to her by her mother.

As Curtis arrived at his grandmother's house, gunshots rang out. Then she realized her grandson was leaning against a fence, crying out, "Nanny, help me."

She called Murdock frantically crying and told her "You just got to get here now," Murdock recalled.

A co-worker held Murdock's hand as she repeated, "I got to get there, I got to get there" while they raced through rush-hour traffic only to arrive at the scene moments after the ambulance had left.

"I couldn't breathe. It was horrible. I couldn't get there fast enough," she said.

When she arrived at the hospital, doctors pulled the family together in a room and delivered the horrific news.

"They just said they tried," Murdock said.

Phillip Curtis was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn at 5:25 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Police said Curtis was shot in his neck, stomach and arm while in the 8700 block of South Loomis Avenue in Auburn Gresham.

Friday afternoon, family gathered at Murdock's home and remembered the man they called "Cool Mista" for his laid back persona that "people could relate to."

They said the shy father of two 1-year-old daughters was a family-oriented man who loved to cook and dreamed of attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

"He loved his daughters. He took them everywhere," Murdock said. "Anywhere he goes it was OK for them to go. He took the kids to the pancake house instead of Chuck E. Cheese."

Murdock said she warned her son about the dangers of walking and taking the bus all over the city, but he never listened.

"He always said since he wasn't a gang banger no one would bother him," Murdock said. "I told him that's not the world we live in."