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Tavon Tanner, 10, Critically Wounded In Shooting: 'I Can't Breathe'

By Alex Nitkin | August 9, 2016 6:42am
 10-year-old Tavon Tanner was shot outside his West Side home Monday night.
10-year-old Tavon Tanner was shot outside his West Side home Monday night.
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NORTH LAWNDALE — A 10-year-old boy was in critical condition after being shot in his back in Lawndale Monday night, police said.

At 10:18 p.m., the boy, identified by family members as Tavon Tanner, was standing on the sidewalk in the 3900 block of West Polk Street when he heard shots and realized he'd been struck, according to a police incident report.

He was brought to Mount Sinai Hospital, police said.

Tavon was sitting on his front porch with his mother, twin sister and aunt, Harmonie Murphy, when a long series of shots rang out, Murphy said.

"We couldn't tell what was happening, it was just 'boom boom boom boom boom,' couldn't tell where it was coming from," she said, sobbing. "Then [Tavon] started saying 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe.' He started saying 'my stomach is burning,' and then his eyes rolled up back into his head and he fell," she added.

Murphy sat on the porch Tuesday morning, fielding a barrage of calls from friends, acquaintances and family members.

Splatters of Tavon's blood remained on her white shirt.

"He's just a little kid! He didn't do nothing to nobody," Murphy said. "He didn't deserve this."

Tavon's sister, Tashyla Ellis, was wrapping up a 16-hour shift at the health center where she works as a nurse when she got a frantic call from her mother late Monday night, she said.

"I didn't even clock out," she said. "I just ran out into the street looking for a cab. I couldn't even think."

Within hours, at least "50 or 60" family members had gathered at Sinai Hospital, including Tavon's great aunt, Ruby Washington.

"There was a lot of love, from all parts of the family," Washington said. "There were so many of us, they couldn't even let us all inside."

Murphy said she's been getting calls from people she hadn't heard from in years, asking how Tavon is doing. 

"It's good to know much love there is out there for him — like his personality reached all those people," she said.

Tavon had been planning to enter fifth grade at Kipp One Academy, 730 N. Pulaski Rd., where he was a "straight-A student," Ellis said.

Tavon was in surgery Tuesday morning, as doctors drained an abscess from his chest, Ellis said. A bullet was still lodged in his body, but doctors told her they were optimistic.

"We're just waiting here hoping he pulls through," she said.

No one is in custody, police said.

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