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'He Was Just a Young Kid, My Age,' Says Friend of Slain Father

By Josh McGhee | November 14, 2013 7:54am | Updated on November 14, 2013 10:54am
 A friend lights a candle for Uriel Quinones, 20, of the 2300 block of West 22nd Street, who was killed Tuesday night.
A friend lights a candle for Uriel Quinones, 20, of the 2300 block of West 22nd Street, who was killed Tuesday night.
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DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

HEART OF CHICAGO — Uriel Quinones was walking home from his friend's house when he was shot to death late Tuesday, his family said.

Around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Quinones, 20, was shot in his chest by someone in a blue van in the 2200 block of South Oakley Avenue, said Officer Amina Greer, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.

Giselle Serrano, 17, said her boyfriend was with Quinones as the shots rang out, and she ran to the scene after hearing them.

"My boyfriend was standing against the fence, and [Quinones] was on the ground looking toward the street. His eyes were already closed, and there was blood everywhere," Serrano said.

In December, Serrano herself was hit by a stray bullet blocks away from the recent shooting. But seeing her friend lying on the ground was a totally different feeling.

"It's devastating. You feel hopeless," Serrano said. "You can't do anything but watch them bleed out until the ambulance comes."

Quinones was pronounced dead on the scene at 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

A neighbor who lives a few doors down from the shooting said he was watching TV with his dogs when he heard a strange noise. The 52-year-old man said his dog's ears perked up as he described hearing a single gunshot, a pause and then several more shots. When he checked to see what was going on he saw a group of people on the sidewalk several doors from his house.

"There was some argument going on. People were yelling something about a man in a blue van," the neighbor said.

When the neighbor came out of his house, he realized he was inside a crime scene. Police tape covered several blocks, and family mourned loudly outside his home. He talked to a paramedic to find out what happened.

"He said, 'They got him square in the chest. He was dead in 30 seconds,'" the neighbor said.

The man said he's lived in the 2200 block of South Oakley Avenue for more than 35 years and violence happens rarely in the area, aside from a stabbing a few weeks ago. He said most of the violence happens north of Cermak Road.

"I would have never thought I would find a dead body two doors away from my home. Who would expect to come home to a dead body outside your house?" he asked. "That never happens here."

The neighbor said he called the Police and Fire departments hours later to clean up blood still on the sidewalk. He saw a woman walking a dog curiously licking everything in site and warned her to keep the dog away from cracks in the sidewalk filled with the dark red liquid.

"Yesterday was ugly. It's sad, man, it really is," he said.

Wednesday afternoon, friends and family gathered where Quinones, a father of a 2-year-old, died. They describe him as family man who would do anything to make you laugh. He was someone who was planning to do well and take care of his family, they said.

A small girl, who said she was a close friend, lit a candle on the sidewalk where police had removed candles minutes earlier.

"I don't care. I just want to leave a spiritual gift," a friend of Quinones told an officer who warned her not to place the candle in front of the home. "This was a human being."

Her face pointed downward looking at the poorly cleaned sidewalk from the night before. She looked up and showed her palms speckled with small stains of blood.

"I have his blood on me from when I came earlier to show him love," the girl said. "I'm heartbroken. He was just a young kid, my age."

The teary-eyed 17-year-old girl was silent for a moment and knelt down on both knees. She stretched out her middle finger and index finger as if to point at something, but instead placed her finger in the sidewalk cracks and felt the blood of her slain friend.