BY SUSAN DU
Homicide Watch Chicago
Dashawn Johnson was a quiet high school student who would get loud to sell candy bars in the hallways of his school to make money to support his young daughter, friends said.
Dashawn, 17, was shot in the jaw Saturday night near his home in the 9300 block of South Ada Street in the Washington Heights neighborhood, authorities said. He died at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn the following evening.
A junior at Harlan Community Academy High School, his classmates remembered him as a friendly young father who avoided drama and mostly stuck by his girlfriend’s side.
“It was unexpected,” 16-year-old Tracie Vaughn said of Dashawn’s death. “He kept to himself. When you did see him, he’d be smiling, talking to his friends in the hallway or with his girlfriend.”
Tracie grew up down the street from Dashawn and often saw him sitting on his porch or waiting at a bus stop.
“It’s hard,” she said. “It’s like you in denial for a minute, and one day will pass and you’re OK. But after a while you realize he’s really not here.”
Dashawn appeared to mature when his daughter was born, Tracie said. He realized he had to settle down and take care of her even though he couldn’t get a job because he was in school.
“He used to sell candy, and it would be the big candy too,” Tracie said, laughing at the memory of Dashawn and his girlfriend soliciting their classmates in the hallway. “[They] used to yell, ‘Y’all want some candy? Buy some candy.’”
Danisha Greyer, another Harlan student and close friend to Dashawn, remembered Dashawn primarily for his love of his baby and his desire to support his family.
She is disappointed the school isn’t doing more to memorialize him. She wants events planned in his memory, posters to go up around his locker and a moment of silence.
“They should be able to support their kids, someone who came here every day with no problems,” Danisha said.
Danish said she hopes the school organizes something in memory of Dashawn, but if administrators don’t comply, they students will put up a memorial anyway.
“He brought life into this school,” she said. “Out of everybody in this school he was outstanding. I don’t care how he looked, how bad his day was. He always made sure everybody happy.”
One memory in particular stuck out for Danisha: “When my friend [Antonio Cooper] passed away, and I was just crying tears, he came over and was like, ‘Best friend, don’t be crying. You know you my granddaughter. Don’t be having no tears in your face. You’re too pretty for that.’”
Nobody has been charged for the murder. Area South detectives are investigating.