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Man Shot, Killed Bronzeville Teen During 2014 Drug Deal, Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | October 24, 2015 9:35am
 Aaron Rushing was gunned down in May 2014, just three days before he turned 16. Dupri Adams was charged in his murder.
Aaron Rushing
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COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A Kenwood man has been charged with murdering 15-year-old Aaron Rushing during a 2014 drug deal, prosecutors said Friday.

After Aaron was fatally shot last May, teachers and relatives described the teen as a gifted guitarist and math whiz. He abruptly transferred out of the Chicago High School for the Arts his sophomore year, they said, and got caught up in a bad crowd.

Police at the time described the homicide as drug-related, but offered few details.

On Friday, prosecutors alleged Aaron was selling marijuana with two other people the afternoon he was killed.

A potential customer, now 19-year-old Dupri Adams, approached Aaron about 3 p.m. on May 18, 2014, and shot Aaron once in the abdomen following a brief conversation, Assistant State's Attorney Todd Kleist said during a bond hearing Friday.

It's not clear what the two spoke about, or why Adams opened fire. A witness at the time said the shooter walked up to Aaron and asked a question. When Aaron said "no," the man pulled the trigger.

Aaron Rushing covers a Van Halen song in 2012. He was 14 at the time. [Credit:YouTube]

Adams, of the 4800 block of South Drexel Boulevard, was charged this week with first-degree murder after four witnesses identified him as the shooter.

According to prosecutors, a friend drove Adams, who was 17 at the time, to Bronzeville on May 18, 2014, so that Adams could buy weed.

Aaron had been selling marijuana that afternoon in a bank parking lot near 47th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, prosecutors said. He and Adams stepped aside for a one-on-one conversation, and Adams pulled a gun and fired a single shot, Kleist said.

Police found one 9-mm shell casing on the scene.

The person who drove Adams to the area reported hearing a gunshot moments before Adams ran back to the car, still holding a gun, prosecutors said.

Aaron was pronounced dead three hours later, at 6:11 p.m., at Comer Children's Hospital.

Adams was arrested this week inside Cook County Jail, where he's currently awaiting trial for a 2014 home invasion and armed robbery. Though he was 17 at the time, Adams was charged as an adult following his August 2014 arrest. His bail was set at $500,000, and he has not posted bond.

On Friday, Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas ordered Adams held without bail in the new murder case.

At a May 2014 memorial, teachers and peers remembered Aaron as a gifted guitarist. The teen taught himself how to play by watching YouTube videos after his grandmother bought him a guitar for Christmas.

"When you picture your model student, that was Aaron. ... He got an A or A-plus on every single test. Every single test," said Marley Dzis, who taught Aaron music theory his freshman year.

Seniors used to joke they'd have to practice more to keep up with the freshman, Dzis said.

Classmates and friends write notes outside the Chicago High School for the Arts, 521 E. 35th St., in May 2014. [DNAinfo/Quinn Ford]

"I hope it was worth it," Aaron's mother, Jennifer Harris, said at the time. "For that one act — reaching and pulling a gun and pulling a trigger. Over what? A bag of weed? Or something he said? He was only 15, and my [other son, Alex,] will never be the same."

"These kids need to realize that they are killing not just one person," cousin Iasha Harris, 27, said last May.

"They're killing mothers, fathers, grandmothers, sisters, brothers. They're killing everybody. As a result of this, we have all died. We will never be the same. I don't think they realize how final it is. And how devastating it is."

Dzis said she wondered whether things would've turned out differently if Aaron lived in the suburbs.

"If Aaron was perhaps in a different neighborhood, circumstance, he would've been on track — AP classes, honors, college, musical career."

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