ROSELAND — A 16-year-old boy who family and neighbors called "a spectacular kid" and a star high school athlete was shot dead near his Roseland home Sunday, police said.
Andre Taylor was shot to death in the 10000 block of South Indiana Avenue, the block where he lived, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Around 7:50 p.m., police responded to a call of shots fired on the block, where they found the boy unresponsive with a gunshot wound to his forehead, according to Officer Janel Sedevic, a Chicago Police spokeswoman.
Lynda Means, who lives in the house next door to Andre's, said she was sitting at home when she heard three gunshots outside. The next thing she heard, she said, was the horrified shriek of her niece, who walked outside to see the boy bleeding on their front lawn.
Means called the police, she said, but by the time an ambulance arrived, it was too late.
"He was such a nice young man, just a typical teenager," Means said. "It's just terrible someone so young didn't even have the chance to shine."
At the time he was shot, Andre was returning home after walking his girlfriend to a nearby bus stop, according to Nydia Bossie, who said she was the boy's aunt.
"He was almost home," Bossie said, choking back tears. "He was almost safe."
Andre attended Julian High School, Bossie said, where he played multiple sports, including football, basketball and swimming.
"He was always asking me to get him cleats, or some other kind of equipment for his sports," she said. "He kept saying football would get him up out of this city."
"He was just a spectacular kid," Bossie added. "But he was still just a baby."
Other neighbors said Andre lived with his grandfather, who took in the teen and his little brother after their mother died in a car accident in 2008.
"He was a really good kid, I would always see him waiting for the bus to go to school," said William Cage, who lives across the street. "I never seen him doing anything bad, anything that would bring this type of trouble."
The teen was also an active member of the school youth group Becoming a Man (BAM), according to Julian English teacher Daphne Whitington. While she never had him as a student, Whitington said Andre was known around the school as a "wonderful, funny, super nice young man."
Means echoed her praise, blaming the city's increasingly toxic culture of violence for the boy's death. It wasn't like this, she said, when she was growing up near the now-destroyed Robert Taylor Homes in Englewood.
"Back then, a fight was just a fight — now, it's like they gotta shoot for everything," she said. "They're taking out their guns for every single little thing, and now we're losing all our kids."
No one is in custody, Sedevic said.