UPTOWN — Relatives describe Oduro Yeboah as a hardworking artist with a passion for helping friends, family and even strangers, who could be often found around Uptown helping a neighbor.
Unfortunately, that helping attitude may have led to the fatal shooting of the 23-year-old aspiring producer, who went by the name of Big O. Yeboah was gunned down Monday afternoon when he went to help a family friend at a nearby gas station, family said.
"He went to help a friend's girlfriend start her car," said Akwasi Yeboah, Oduro's father. "If he had said 'no,' he wouldn't have died.
"But because he can't say 'no,' and wants to help people, he's dead."
Yeboah was driving his car in the 4700 block of North Clarendon Avenue when he was approached by three men who opened fire, said Officer Janel Sedevic, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
He was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his head and listed in grave condition, Sedevic said.
Yeboah, of the 800 Block of West Belle Plaine Avenue, was pronounced dead at 6:26 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
A second victim was being treated at Weiss Memorial Hospital, Sedevic said.
"They shot him from the back, and the bullet traveled from the left brain to the right brain," Yeboah's father said, repeating the words the doctor used when he came to the waiting room accompanied by the chaplain to deliver the news that his son was dead.
"He couldn't talk. He couldn't move. In my mind, my son had died before he got to the hospital," Yeboah's father said.
Yeboah was a tireless worker with big dreams, his father said.
Every morning, he would wake up around 6 a.m. to drive his mother Georgina to work and his nephew to school, stopping at Montrose Beach to take pictures of the sun as it rose over the lake, his mother said, surrounded by family and friends who stopped by the home Wednesday to pay their respects.
"He really had it up here," his mother said, pointing her to her forehead as she described his intelligence.
After the morning routine, he would head to one of his jobs, which included delivering pizzas for Big G's Pizza in Wrigleyville and working at the SelfHelp Home in Margate Park, she said.
"He was trying to go to school. I remember him telling me, 'Just hold on, by next year I'll be in school,'" his mother said.
Yeboah was saving money to attend Full Sail University to study music production, but he also was steadily buying tools of the trade, including a laptop, piano and other instruments — usually secondhand and from pawn shops, she said.
Silvain Songo, also known as DJ Lambe, organizes events around Chicago and met Yeboah almost two years ago when he started attending Songo's events.
Yeboah became a member of Songo's "street team," handing out fliers, promoting events and taking photos.
"He was one of the best workers on my street team," Songo said, adding he planned to leave him in charge of events as the company expanded.
"I really trusted him because he was really trustworthy. He knew the business and could handle it," Songo said.
Songo chose Yeboah, who lived in Ghana until he was 11, to speak at a celebration of Ghanaian independence in March for Generations For Progress, a group that celebrates African Heritage around Chicago, family said.
"He doesn't talk in public," said his older sister, Yaa Yeboah, 25. "That was the first time he gave a speech in public. They all said he was really good."
Yeboah was like a little brother to Songo, the producer said. News of his death was devastating.
"I'm shocked. I was just talking to him the night before. When I said goodbye, I didn't know. ... I never thought that was goodbye forever," he said, adding that they had just lined up some new music projects.
"There were so many things that he was supposed to do, but now they will no longer happen, because he [is] no longer."
His mother said she didn't have any hate in her heart for the shooter, but she despises the gun violence plaguing the city.
"We don't want this to be going on. I've lost my whole son. No mother deserves to lose a 23-year-old. [Having him] taken at the age. ... He did it to help someone," she said, surrounded by family under a black framed picture of the sun rising over Montrose Beach.
Police had no further details about the shooting.
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