WOODLAWN — The 23-year-old son of the executive director of Change Illinois, a local coalition pushing for political and government reform, was shot dead Thursday night in Woodlawn, a slaying his family believes happened as he was being robbed of his cellphone.
The victim, Xavier Joy, was a former football player at Morehouse College and had worked as a special education classroom assistant in the Chicago Public Schools.
Ra Joy, Xavier's father and executive director of Change Illinois, said on Facebook Friday morning that words cannot express the devastating pain and loss the family is feeling.
"Xavier was an incredibly creative, funny and smart young man," Joy said. "We hope and pray for an end to the violence that has impacted our family and so many others in our city."
He said the family is asking for privacy as they grieve.
Neighbors said they found Joy in a parking lot Thursday night in the 6200 block of South Ingleside Avenue, two blocks from his home. They said they saw five gunshot wounds.
Police said Joy had been shot multiple times throughout his body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Joy was a graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School.
He had worked for Chicago Public Schools as a special education classroom assistant from 2014-15.
Joy's mother, Nykea Pippion-McGriff, told ABC7 that she believed Joy was shot during a robbery for his phone. The family could not be reached for comment Friday.
Police said that at 10:08 p.m., officers responding to a call of a person shot found Joy in an apartment building parking lot in the 6200 block of South Ingleside Avenue.
Curtis Bibbs, who lives in the building next to where Joy was shot, said he heard more than five shots, but didn't realize someone had been hit until police arrived. He said there have been robberies nearby in the past, but the parking lot is normally patrolled by security from the nearby Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School and there are rarely issues.
Joy, of the 6100 block of South Drexel Avenue, was pronounced dead at 10:23 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.
No one was in custody.