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Family of Slain Livery Driver: 'He Beat All Odds'

By Quinn Ford | March 5, 2014 7:55am
 Javan Boyd, 28, was killed in the Armour Square neighborhood while working a second job as a livery driver, police and family said.
Javan Boyd
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ARMOUR SQUARE — Lakeisha Odom sat in the living room of her aunt's apartment, flipping through dozens of pictures of her cousin, Javan Boyd.

Boyd, whom family called "Ballhead," was always smiling, Odom said. She pointed out that smile in each picture.

"Sometimes people die, and you hear 'It was his time,' [but] it wasn't his time," Odom said. "He had a story to tell, and we're going to make sure we tell that story. He had so much life in him."

Boyd was shot to death at 4 a.m. Feb. 22 just a few blocks from U.S. Cellular Field in the Wentworth Gardens housing complex.

The 28-year-old was working as a livery driver at the time. He had parked his Buick in the 3700 block of South Princeton Avenue and was waiting to pick up a fare when a gunman approached his car and opened fire, hitting him repeatedly in the legs, according to police and family members.

The passenger whom Boyd was picking up in the area found him and called police.

Boyd was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 5:45 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with Boyd's murder, and it is still unclear what led to the shooting.

About a month before he was killed, Boyd had begun driving for the Pershing Livery service, where he had worked on and off the last couple of years, family said.

Driving was Boyd's second job, a way to make extra money for his 11-year-old daughter, said his aunt, Trina Boyd. Boyd spent his days working for Greencorps in the Chicago area.

Sitting with Odom in her South Shore apartment, Trina Boyd showed a picture of her nephew and his daughter at Medieval Times. He was always taking her places — skating, bowling — Boyd said. She said Boyd also passed on his love of basketball; he played at Wendell Phillips High School in Bronzeville.

"It was all about his daughter, living for his daughter," Trina Boyd said. "He took on that second job because he was taking care of her."

Odom also flipped through pictures of Boyd's immediate family. Boyd was the oldest of four children, and in 1994, his mother and siblings died in an apartment fire in the Robert Taylor Homes while Boyd was at school. He was 9 years old at the time.

"For him to lose his family at a young age, he beat all odds," Odom said. "I don't know anybody who could be as strong as he was after being through what he went through."

Family members said Boyd had gotten into trouble in the past. In 2007 he was arrested and pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular hijacking.

But Trina Boyd said her nephew, whom she raised as a son after her sister died in the 1994 fire, had turned his life around and had stayed out of trouble for years.

She and other family members said they have no doubt police will find Boyd's killer but are urging anyone with information to contact police.

Boyd said her nephew's passion was traveling, and he loved vacationing with his daughter.

Boyd had plans to drive down to New Orleans, where he was born, with his grandmother, Frankie Boyd, for Mardi Gras week.

The morning before he was killed, he had talked with Frankie Boyd on the phone. He intended to help her study for her driving test so she could renew her license to help drive during the trip.

"He was happy when I talked to him," Frankie Boyd said. "He said, 'Next week, we'll be out of here grandma.'"