EDGEWATER — Abimbola "Bim" Sheleru, a 28-year-old Edgewater resident, was a family man and father of two who loved to smile and have fun.
He spent the day Nov. 13 among his large family, including first cousin Jenelle Johnson, celebrating a birthday.
A week later, Johnson and others would learn their beloved "Bim" was gone, gunned down in a West Ridge alley. By Monday morning, the same crew who laughed with Sheleru just a week before would make the devastating trip to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office to identify his body.
"He wasn't a member of a gang, he didn't sell drugs, he had babies, so ... we just don't know why," Johnson said.
Sheleru died Sunday after being shot around 4:30 a.m., officials said.
Officers responded to reports of gunfire in the 2400 block of West Devon Avenue, where they found Sheleru lying in an alley with gunshot wounds.
He was hit multiple times in his back and taken to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition, police said.
By 7:43 a.m. Sunday, medical officials said Sheleru had died. He lived nearby in the 6100 block of North Hermitage Avenue.
"He never was confrontational with others," said Ishmael Aldridge, another cousin.
Though Aldridge said the last time he saw his cousin was at a family baby shower, he said they kept in touch via social media, especially Snapchat.
Leading up to his death, Sheleru had posted multiple messages to Snapchat showing him at Trump Tower, then in an elevator with his daughter and later dancing at a club Aldridge said. After that, the messages stopped.
"I just found it kind of odd that it stopped there, so I'm assuming after that is when the incident occurred," Aldridge said.
Family members said they were still trying to determine what happened, but didn't believe Sheleru was the intended target of the shooting.
Sheleru was one of six children with three sisters and two brothers.
Sheleru's mother had four children when she married his father, a pastor from Nigeria, and later the two had Sheleru and a younger sister who was more like a best friend, Aldridge said.
"To look over and see that your bother's not there when he'd be calling you every day, all day, giving you boyfriend advice and stuff like that ... she feels like she lost her best friend, not only her brother," Aldridge said.
He had twins of his own with his girlfriend — one girl and one boy set to turn 2 in March — who filled up photo albums on his Facebook profile.
"He loved his kids very much, very much," Aldridge said. "He took a picture with them just about every day."
Johnson said Sheleru was extremely close with his siblings, cousins, kids and other members of their extensive family network, many of whom are local and grew up in the Edgewater and Rogers Park area.
Sheleru liked to dance and play basketball, was outgoing and friendly with the "biggest smile," and loved to show off the latest fashion, especially shoes.
"He loved clothes, he had an extensive amount of clothes and shoes," Johnson said. "He really, really loved his family and he liked to have fun, you'd catch him smiling, he had the biggest smile. He wasn't a bad person, he was actually a very good person."
Aldridge said Sheleru had worked a number of odd jobs or would do chores for his parents in order to save up for the newest jerseys, shoes and video games, a pastime the two enjoyed as kids.
He described his cousin as a "book-smart" man who studied technology. He was a person who "didn't know how to cook but loved to eat," Aldridge said.
Growing up in a religious family and living on the North Side helped shape much of who Bim was, his cousin said.
Sherleu was a "socialite" who often joked and laughed, and was known to pick up others when they were feeling down. His friend base was reflective of his neighborhood, Aldridge said.
"He would do just about anything for anybody," Aldridge said. "He had friends of all ethnic groups, he did not discriminate, he was open to sparking up conversations with anybody. ... Him being located and growing up on the North Side where he grew up at, he always came into contact with every nationality."
Aldridge said because he lives in the southwest suburbs and Sheleru lived on the Far North Side, the usually saw each other only a few times a year, such as Thanksgiving and winter holidays.
This year, without the "comedian" in the family, Aldridge said the holidays won't be the same.
"It's hard for my family right now because he's like a comedian person, he always goes around the house making sure everybody's OK," Aldridge said. "He would crack jokes, the type of person who would walk up to you and give you a wet willy in your ear — just a really good-spirited person, I don't know why this would happen to him.
"It's going to be awkward. The family decided to cancel Thanksgiving, the holidays, because of the incident. It wouldn't feel right."
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