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Visually Impaired, Special Needs 18-Year-Old Shot Dead In The Park He Loved

By Kelly Bauer | May 30, 2017 10:58am | Updated on June 1, 2017 10:15am
 Jervon Morris, 18, was killed near his home in Longwood Manor.
Jervon Morris, 18, was killed near his home in Longwood Manor.
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CHICAGO — One of the people shot and killed in Chicago over the violent Memorial Day weekend was a visually impaired, developmentally disabled 18-year-old who loved hanging out in the park across from his home.

Jervon "JoJo" Morris was shot dead in that park — Euclid Park at 98th and Wallace in Longwood Manor — at 5:40 p.m. Monday.

"He was just a special kid. He was loving. Everybody loved Jervon," said his aunt, Edna Young, who had raised him since he was 1 and saw him as more a son than a nephew. "He had no hate. He was always smiling."

Jervon, born with cataracts, had been blind in one eye and only able to see shadows in the other since he was 2 years old, Young said. Yet he loved to draw, a skill he'd picked up at 10, and he played basketball, relying on his hearing to help him become a great player.

Jervon learned how to play basketball in school, and about three years ago he started volunteering with children through the Chicago Park District. He'd go to Euclid Park every day to work with kids, playing ball from noon to closing. The park and his home were the only places he went, Young said.

Everyone — but especially the kids he adored and volunteered with — came to love Jervon, Young said.

"He just wanted to be around his family," said Young, who noted Jervon was especially close with his sisters. "He just wanted to play basketball."

On Monday, Young asked Jervon to clean up his basketball and art supplies. She last saw him as he sat on their front porch with his basketball, one of his sisters grabbing him a plate of food. He planned on skipping a family gathering to volunteer at the park.

At 5:40 p.m., he was at the park in the 9800 block of South Wallace Street when someone fired multiple shots, police said.

Jervon was hit in his head and pronounced dead at the scene.

The 18-year-old knew to run home when he heard shots, Young said. Based on how he was found after the shooting, that's what his family thinks he was trying to do when he was hit.

"My thought was, Jervon was just trying to get home," Young said. "I know that wasn't intended for him. He just was at the wrong place."

Young said there will be a funeral and a vigil for Jervon, though she hasn't been able to settle the details yet.

But Young will keep the pictures that Jervon made to decorate his room: recreated Bulls logos, sports symbols, sketches of basketball players on the court.

"My heart is breaking. He was just so sweet. He never did anything," Young said, her voice cracking. "He never had a chance in life. He never enjoyed life. He never dated, met nobody.

"He just thought about playing, and the kids around here love him."

No one has been arrested in his shooting. Six people were killed and at least 46 people were wounded in shootings around Chicago over Memorial Day weekend.