Family: Deandre Baber shot dead helping brother free van from pothole in Auburn Gresham

Deandre Baber / Photo from Instagram
Deandre Baber / Photo from Instagram

Homicide Watch Chicago

Deandre Baber was trying to free his brother’s van from a pothole when he was fatally shot early Sunday in the Auburn Gresham community, family said.

Baber, 18, was shot in the head about 2:40 a.m. Sunday in the 8000 block of South Elizabeth Street, authorities said. He was declared dead at the scene.

“He was a loving person,” said Baber’s oldest brother, Deonte Travis. “I’ll miss him. He never started no problems.”

Baber had been riding in another brother’s van when the vehicle got stuck in a pothole near South Elizabeth and West 81st streets, Travis said. Another group allegedly approached, yelled gang slogans, broke the windows and robbed the passengers of their personal belongings and took the keys to the van.

Baber and the other passengers returned to his home in the 7300 block of South Winchester Avenue to get another set of keys to the van and another vehicle to try and free it from the pothole, Travis said.Elizabeth

When Baber and others returned to the van, a man with a gun and opened fire — striking Baber, Travis said.

Brion M. Dowdell, 22, was arrested about 30 minutes later and charged with one count of first-degree murder, police said.

Baber, who had six brothers and three sisters, grew up in the West Englewood neighborhood and attended Bogan High School, Travis said.

Baber enjoyed rap music and was a fan of Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, Travis said.

Court records indicated Baber had several arrests, but was only sentenced on a trespassing charge after he pleaded guilty in October 2013. He received court supervision.

Travis said his brother did not “get into any trouble and loved being around family,” Travis said.

Relatives said the family lost a cousin to gun violence in 2002 when he was shot about a block away from their home near South Winchester Avenue and West 73rd Street.

Relatives described the area as gang infested, but said the block where the family lives is relatively quiet.

“There’s so much family on the block that we don’t really have problems over here,” Travis said. “If something does happen, it’d be a small argument.”

Dowdell, of the 8300 block of South Justine Avenue in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, is being held without bond, authorities said. Dowdell will be back in court March 24.

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