WEST ENGLEWOOD — The day after a 78-year-old great-grandfather was killed while walking home in West Englewood, community advocate Andrew Holmes has been knocking on doors, trying to get information that will help find his killers.
“We can do all the peace rallies we want, they’re OK, but we just need to get to the doors and the people to get the information out,” he said. “We need concrete information. We need someone to call in.”
Gene Gordon, 78, was standing outside in the 6800 block of South Hermitage Avenue on Thursday when a light-colored car drove by and someone inside fired shots, police said. Gordon was shot in his head at 4:45 p.m. and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition, police said. He was later pronounced dead.
Gordon was not the intended target of the shooting, a police source said.
Gordon was walking home, Holmes said, when he was shot.
“The gentleman walks that area and he was walking, going home,” he said.
Holmes said that he’s been trying to console Gordon's family. Gordon had four children and more than 10 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Holmes said.
“He was two weeks away from turning 79,” he said.
Holmes spoke with the man who was the intended target of the shooting on Thursday, he said, trying to persuade him to share information with detectives.
“He and his female friend were sitting on the porch,” Holmes said when the shooting happened.
Although he didn’t know Gordon personally, Holmes has visited the wife twice, right after the shooting and on Friday morning.
“She’s very upset and shocked too,” he said. “They’ve been around that neighborhood for awhile.”
He said he hopes police can get surveillance video from a nearby school.
Ald. David Moore (17th) also spoke with family. He said the son asked for privacy.
“I'm angry,” Moore said about the incident.
The community needs to do a better job of working together and reporting anything they see, he said.
“An innocent person got killed,” Moore said. “Police can't police that situation, it becomes the community’s responsibility.”
There still needs to be work done in the area, Moore said. His “Alderman on the Block” initiative literally calls for him to be in the community and he encourages neighbors to form block clubs. He said he was just on 68th and Wood, a block west of Hermitage.
He’s encouraging residents on that block to form one on Hermitage.
Holmes said that there’s a $2,000 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction. They can call 1-800-U Tell Us (1-800-883-5587).
“It’s not about the money, his life was worth more than any brown penny we can put up,” he said. “But we have to do what we have to do to get someone to call in with this information. You can bypass the money and just have a good heart.”