BY SAFIYA MERCHANT
Homicide Watch Chicago
Phillip Curtis was on his way to help his grandmother at her Auburn Gresham neighborhood home when he was shot to death last Wednesday.
His grandmother, Lucille Murdock, said she was talking with family inside her home when gunfire erupted outside. She looked out the window and saw her grandson on the ground and several males running away across the street, she said.
Curtis, 21, was shot in the neck, arm and abdomen in the 8700 block of South Loomis Street about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.
“He was pulling [himself] up on the fence,” Murdock said. “He calls me Nanny. He said, ‘Nanny help me. Help me Nanny.’”
Curtis, of the 8600 block of South Marshfield Avenue, died about an hour later at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Curtis, nicknamed “Mister,” had two 1-year-old daughters, family said. He had attended DuSable High School and enjoyed playing video games.
“He was also sweet as well,” said Simona’e Murdock, Curtis’s aunt. “He would do whatever you asked him to do.”
Curtis’ younger brother, 19-year-old De’jon Curtis, said his brother was a laid-back person who usually kept to himself.
De’jon Curtis, who studies criminal justice at Joliet Junior College, said his brother’s death is motivating him to accomplish his goals. He said he hopes to help out Curtis’s children.
The family regularly encouraged Phillip Curtis and his brother to be safe, Simona’e Murdock said.
“But again, [Phillip Curtis] was just still to himself and just would be like, ‘I’m okay, it’s cool’ … thinking that nothing would ever happen to him,” Simona’e Murdock said.
Police believe Phillip Curtis was involved in gangs. Curtis’s family has a different take on his life. Simona’e Murdock said her nephew did not participate in that lifestyle.
“He wasn’t in gangs, he wasn’t a street guy, you know, he mind his business, went his own way,” she said. “He wasn’t perfect either, don’t get me wrong. But again, he wasn’t a gang banger, you know, anything like that.”
Phillip Curtis was the second person shot and killed on the block in the past five months.
On July 3, William Jones was sitting in a car when he was shot about 1:35 p.m. Jones, 26, of the 7800 block of South Emerald Avenue, was dead on the scene, authorities said.
Lucille Murdock said she used to live on “a nice, quiet block” that has deteriorated. Murdock now worries about Curtis’ brother.
“I don’t want nobody to steal and rob him of his life,” she said.
Nobody has been charged for Curtis’ murder.
Photos: Jessica Koscielniak / Sun-Times