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West Side Teen Shot Dead Days Before Starting College: 'It Just Isn't Fair'

By Alex Nitkin | August 24, 2015 12:00pm | Updated on August 24, 2015 12:01pm
 Cory Fisher on prom night in June.
Cory Fisher on prom night in June.
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Cindy Russell

GARFIELD PARK — Just days before he was slated to start college, 18-year-old Cory Fisher was shot dead on Chicago's West Side, family members said.

The ambitious and bright Fisher was known on his Garfield Park block as the guy who could help them with technology, from fixing computers to explaining complicated new smart phones. He was the first person anyone would call when they needed help, his family said.

Fisher's intelligence led him to an early graduation from Manley Career Academy High School with a 3.4 GPA, and he was enrolled at Malcolm X College, where he was to start classes Monday.

Instead, he was shot to death about 2 miles from his Garfield Park home.

Around 6:15 p.m. Friday, Fisher and his 16-year-old stepbrother got into an argument with someone in the 3800 block of West Lexington Street, police said. The other person pulled out a gun and shot Fisher in his head, and his stepbrother in his shoulder, police said.

Fisher was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where doctors soon pronounced him dead.

"He was just an amazing kid," said Fisher's mother, Cindy Russell, two days after his murder. "He was always real quiet, but once he got to know you he was a real jokester."

Fisher was always interested in engineering and loved working with his hands, Russell said. 

About a year before his January graduation, Fisher started working for Amer-I-can Enterprise, an organization that partners with Chicago Public Schools to refurbish school auditoriums around the city. 

Fisher had been working 12-hour shifts there this summer, his family said. He had asked his supervisor, Amer-I-can Enterprise Executive Director Harold Davis, if he could work in the mornings this fall so he could take classes in the evening.

"He had all the qualities of a leader, and let me tell you, nobody worked harder than that kid. He worked rings around other people," Davis said.

Fisher eventually started training other workers, Davis said, to the point that Davis started to consider him a "junior supervisor."

"This kid had serious potential. He really could've been something great in this life. It just isn't fair," Davis added.

Russell got home from work Friday evening to find her mom on the phone getting bad news about Fisher.

Russell jumped in her car and drove to the scene of the shooting, but police pulled her over for speeding, she said. They parked her car and drove her the rest of the way, just in time to see her son loaded into an ambulance.

Later that night, doctors told her there was nothing they could do to save him.

The next afternoon, the family planned a small vigil outside their home in the 3200 block of West Carroll Avenue. Hours later, Fisher's grandmother, Gloria Russell, was "amazed" to find "at least 200 people" crowding the street to pay their respects.

"You can know your family loves your child, but nothing prepared me for that kind of outpouring of love and support — just so many people, people I didn't even know, all with candles and balloons," Cindy Russell said. "To know he had that much of an impact on the community...it was just amazing. It was beautiful."

No one was in custody for the slaying as of Monday, police said.

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