BY SUSAN DU
Homicide Watch Chicago
Gerald Calhoun worked as a janitor to try and make a better life for his two children.
Calhoun, 29, was killed in a May 5 drive-by shooting less than a block from his Englewood home, authorities said.
Calhoun and a 35-year-old man were traveling in a vehicle south on Morgan Street when a white car pulled alongside them and an unknown shooter opened fire near 59th Street, authorities said.
Calhoun was struck in the chest and died less than an hour later at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The 35-year-old was shot in the leg and survived.
His mother, Darlene Calhoun, remembered her youngest child as a man focused on changing his life to raise his children. He was a good father who always took his children wherever they wanted to go, she said.
Calhoun worked a number of odd jobs, including working at McDonald’s and cleaning offices, Darlene Calhoun said. He had ambitions to go back to school and eventually start his own janitorial business.
Court records indicate Gerald Calhoun had been previously charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated assault of a peace officer as well as manufacturing and delivering cannabis.
Gerald Calhoun’s father, Lee Brown, blamed his son’s various stints in prison on insufficient rehabilitative training in prison. Yet Gerald Calhoun was turning his life around in recent years, Brown said.
“When he got out he was working and doing OK. He had his own car, apartment and everything,” Brown said.
He described his son as intelligent, a lot of fun and helpful around the house. Brown’s last memory of his son is a brief greeting one morning before he headed off to work.
“This stuff is whacked up,” Brown said. “I don’t understand why gangs gotta be like they are, they can’t get jobs out there for these people. It’s simple. If you get jobs, they won’t be hurting each other. They won’t be shooting people. You need YMCAs, you need parks down here like you had them when I was coming up.”
Darlene Calhoun said her son loved basketball growing up and never stopped playing pickup at the courts near his house. He was a fan of the Bears and the Bulls. The most important things in his life were his kids.
“I can’t keep my mind focused on him, because that’s going to get me down and crying all night and I don’t wanna get like that,” Darlene Calhoun said. “That was my baby. He was funny, outgoing. He made me laugh every day.”