BY SUSAN DU
Homicide Watch Chicago
Eric Kall had just gotten a season pass to take his young son to Brookfield Zoo this summer, friends said.
Kall won’t get to use those passes after being shot about 10 p.m. June 1 in the 6200 block of South Francisco Avenue in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, authorities said.
Kall, of the 5100 block of South Moody Avenue, died at Holy Cross Hospital about 20 minutes later, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
He had turned 27 the day before.
A close friend, who asked not to be named, said the two celebrated Kall’s birthday by relaxing at home, tossing bean bags, drinking and grilling. It was a rare respite for Kall, who spent most of his time working at Nature Gro Systems in Orland Park.
“He had some great friends. He had a great heart,” Kall’s friend said. “He was hated by a lot of people, but he was loved by many. He always showed a lot of respect to everybody he was close to.”
Kall lived in Chicago all his life and was a loyal fan of the Bears, Bulls and White Sox.
He got into trouble in his youth and never completed high school, but worked hard for his family and hoped for a better future, coworkers said.
Nature Gro Systems owner Joseph Delogu said he hired Kall in August 2013 because of his calm, good mannered, soft-spoken personality. He learned quickly and had the ambition and potential to work his way up to foreman.
As part a three-man team, Kall did landscaping, lawn maintenance and snow removal, Delogu said.
“He could pick up anything. He was a very bright person, very good mind,” Delogu said. “I had many employees work for me and many of them just will not learn much, but he would do anything you trained him.”
Kall tended to focus on his job while on company time, but occasionally talked about his 5-year-old son and how proud he was of him, Delogu said. Kall had recently requested some time off to attend his son’s kindergarten graduation.
“He loved his child,” Delogu said. “It sounded like he loved to look after his son when his girlfriend had to work. You could tell he was very proud. He was number one.”
Kall lived apart from his girlfriend and hadn’t seen his son for about two weeks before he died, his friend said. But Kall’s hoped to move in with the child’s mother and raise more children later in life.
“He was probably a documented gang member, but he wasn’t really in the streets like that,” the friend said. “He wasn’t young anymore. It had to have happened because he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He just wanted to raise his family and get away from all the problems in the neighborhood. I guess they just caught up with him.”
Nobody has been charged for the murder.
Area Central detectives are investigating.