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Teen Killed in Cellphone Robbery Wanted to be a Veterinarian

By Quinn Ford | January 18, 2014 3:59pm | Updated on January 18, 2014 5:21pm
 Kevin Baker, 19, died Saturday after he was shot during a robbery Thursday afternoon in Chicago Lawn.
Kevin Baker, 19, died Saturday after he was shot during a robbery Thursday afternoon in Chicago Lawn.
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CHICAGO LAWN — Nineteen-year-old Kevin Baker was known around his neighborhood as "college boy."

The teen was in his first year of classes at Harold Washington College, family said. His dream was to become a veterinarian.

But Baker died Saturday morning from a gunshot wound he suffered earlier this week, his family said. Officials at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said he was pronounced dead at 5:45 Saturday morning.

Baker was walking home with his cousin, also a college student, Thursday afternoon. The two would regularly meet after getting off the Orange Line to head back to their home in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood.

About 4:15 p.m., the two were in the 6200 block of South Campbell Avenue, about a block from Baker's home, when two men with guns hopped out of a dark-colored van on the block, police said.

The two gunmen demanded cellphones from Baker and his cousin. The two handed over their phones and began walking away when one of the gunmen asked Baker if he was affiliated with a gang.

"The gangbanger said, 'What do you ride with?'" said Arlene Allen, Baker's cousin.

Allen said Baker began to turn and answered "huh?" Before Baker could say anything else, the gunman shot the teen in the back of his head.

Baker's mother was waiting on the porch of her home that Thursday afternoon. Family said she would regularly watch for her son and niece to turn the corner on their daily walk home.

But instead, she saw Baker's cousin turn the corner running.

"She ran out the door with no socks, no shoes and stood there for an hour until the EMTs came," Allen said of Baker's mother.

Police were called, and Baker was rushed in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said.

Family members said Baker died about 6 a.m. Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon, family members gathered at Baker's home to help his mother mourn the loss of her only son.

Patricia Butler, Baker's aunt, described the teen as a "family-oriented child" who had managed to stay clear of gangs to pursue his goal of becoming a veterinarian.

Allen said her cousin saw that as a way to "rise out of the streets."

"That was his goal, to take care of animals, to take care of his mother and to take care of his family," she said with tears in her eyes.