CHATHAM — Moments before he was fatally shot walking home from school, Andre Hunter was talking to his friends about what he loves most.
"My brother said 'Look, I got my sticks on me' and was like 'I'm going D.T. (Downtown) tomorrow," said Dominique Hunter, based on what he heard from his brother's friends.
One of the Bucket Boys who are often seen on downtown sidewalk or in 'L' stations playing drums on empty buckets, Andre Hunter was gunned down at 2:40 p.m. Thursday in the 7700 block of South Stewart Avenue, police said, less than a mile from his home in the 7900 block of South Princeton Avenue.
He and his friends were on their way home from Chatham Academy Charter High School when they were approached from behind by two men, including one with a handgun, family and friends said.
The duo asked where the friends were from, and they replied they were simply from the neighborhood.
Right before the shooting, a gun was pointed at Hunter's heart, said a 19-year-old Bucket Boy and friend who tried to push it away and backed off before he slipped on ice.
As he slipped, one of the men ordered the gunman to pull the trigger.
"He shot him as he fell," the friend said.
Shot multiple times, Hunter was pronounced dead less than an hour later at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
A South Shore man was arrested and charged in the slaying, police said. Iman Frison, 18, of the 1700 block of East 72nd Place, was charged with first-degree murder.
Frison was caught by police shortly after the shooting a few blocks from the scene and Hunter's friends helped identify Frison as one of the attackers, family said.
The friend said he and Hunter decided to return to school to "get our lives together" after previously dropping out.
Hunter had spent time in juvenile detention and was due to get his high school diploma in January. He was eyeing colleges to start a career working with computers, family said.
The youngest of seven siblings, Hunter was a soft-spoken boy who knew how to make everyone smile, family said.
Nearly a decade ago while the family lived in the now demolished Robert Taylor Homes in Bronzeville, Hunter became enamored of playing drums on empty buckets, which his older brothers also did.
"Everybody wants to be part of something," his mother, Serena Grandberry, said. "They just wanted to entertain."
Initially Hunter was too young to join his brothers and friends during performances, but eventually he came into his own.
"'Dre was getting better than me," said Dominique Hunter, 22.
During the summer, Hunter performed at a number of summer events with the Pilsen-based performance-art organization Redmoon Theater.
"Working with Andre daily this summer, at rehearsals and 10 huge public events, we were impressed by his great integrity, his strong belief in the power of community and change, and his amazing, generous spirit," the theater said.
"It is tragic to have lost such a valuable human, artist, community member, and friend far before his time," the organization posted on Facebook. "Redmoon's condolences go out to his family and loved ones, and to all of The Bucket Boys for losing a brother."