CHATHAM — A 16-year-old high school sophomore shot to death Saturday played football and wrestled for Simeon Career Academy, his family said, and was looking forward to getting a summer job.
Michael Flournoy, 16, was visiting cousins in Burnside Saturday night when he decided to grab some chips from a corner store, relatives said.
Just before 8 p.m., police responding to a call of shots fired found Michael dead on the sidewalk in the 1000 block of East 93rd Street, according to authorities. He had been shot in his head and was pronounced dead on the scene at 8:07 p.m.
As mourners gathered near Michael's Chatham home Sunday morning, his family tried to piece together what happened. The teen was walking alone when he was shot, and most relatives believe he was "easy prey" for thieves or gang members.
Police couldn't confirm any details Sunday morning.
"Only God knows who took our baby," grandfather Samuel Woods said as he fought tears outside his family's house in the 8000 block of South Evans Ave.
Relatives said Michael was a sophomore at Simeon Career Academy, 8147 S. Vincennes Ave., where he got good grades, played football and wrestled. The teen was remembered as outgoing, considerate and sweet — a gentleman.
"He was a great kid. ... And he thought he was God's gift to women," Samuel Woods said with a laugh. "He thought he was the most flirtiest, beautifulest man on this earth."
"Ooh, [girls] would swarm around him," grandmother Debra Woods added.
On Tuesday, Michael was slated to interview at Navy Pier for a summer job.
"He was very wise beyond his years," Debra Woods said. "You have a conversation with him, and you're like, 'Wow. This is coming from a kid?'"
Michael had told relatives he wanted to go away for college and become a police officer, firefighter or architect. He was especially close to his mom, who was too distraught to talk Sunday.
"We're at war out here. You can't walk free. And we live in America. We're supposed to be free," Debra Woods said, as she lamented how gang and gun culture has made her neighborhood unsafe.
"I just don't understand it," she said. "It makes you feel like a prisoner in your home. You can't even let your kids go outside and have fresh air."
Several relatives said they didn't feel safe letting their kids walk to school alone.
"The numbers that they talk about all the time — 'crime is down.' Down where?" said great-grandmother Gail Jones. "What difference does it make if one person didn't get killed yesterday? Twelve still did. ... And one is too many."