By TYLER HOLMES
Homicide Watch Chicago
Larry Lawrence, father of two girls, was a “sweet and giving man” to everyone he encountered, according to the woman he was planning to marry.
“He always helped me,” said Chasity Williams, Lawrence’s fiancée. “Our schedules were based off of each other. When I worked, he stayed with our kids. He was always so sweet.”
Lawrence and Williams had two daughters together – a 2-year-old and an 11-month-old. His family is what kept him going, according to Marisha Cotton, Lawrence’s cousin.
“He always wanted to make sure his family was safe,” Cotton said. “That was more important than anything to him. He was always a family person.”
“You didn’t even have to be family for him to help you,” Williams said. “He took my shoes from the house once and gave them to a girl because she needed shoes. He always gave homeless people money.”
Lawrence was commonly known to his family and friends as “Rico,” a nickname he gave himself to shake his childhood reputation and be taken more seriously.
“My kids miss him the most,” Williams said. “We’re going to miss his heart. He was so funny. There were no bad days with him when we were together.”
Lawrence was fatally shot during a confrontation on Wednesday, June 29, in the Gold Coast neighborhood, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The 27-year-old was shot about at 8:09 p.m. and died less than an hour later at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Williams was on the phone with Lawrence at the time of the shooting, discussing how he was on his way home to watch his children so she could go to work.
According to police and a witness, two groups of young men were arguing with each other across Clark Street near Division. Despite traffic, the groups converged in the middle of the street, at which point someone shot Lawrence twice. The shooter started to walk away, then walked back into the street and shot him several more times.
Williams doesn’t buy that story.
“It wasn’t two crowds in the streets,” she said. “I was on the phone with him when he got shot six times. I called the ambulance. I heard everything right before he got killed.
“That is not the reason he got killed. They were ganging up on him. We were getting into a fight with this guy and this girl a few days before, and he got killed three days later,” Williams said.
Williams led a candlelight vigil on June 28 at the intersection of Clark and Division. Groups of people arrived displaying posters, buttons and flowers to honor Lawrence’s memory.
“People saw him getting money and they don’t like that. He was coming home to get the kids and somebody ran up and killed him,” Williams said. “He’s not a gang banger. This didn’t make any sense.”
A police blue light surveillance camera captured video of the incident, showing the shooter with a gun in his hand approaching Lawrence before shooting him, then getting away in a black car.
“I never thought the hate could get so real,” Williams said. “He just wanted to take care of his family and make sure his girls could eat. He wanted to watch his kids grow up. He didn’t even want to be in Chicago anymore.”
The shooting has motivated Ald. Brian Hopkins to install a new 360-degree camera at the Clark and Division Red Line station in order to deter criminal activity.
“It’s sad. I’m trying to stay away from all of it. I don’t even let my kids go in the backyard anymore,” Cotton said. “I don’t want any retaliation. I want justice.”
Police identified a person of interest from the footage, but the suspect responsible for Lawrence’s death remains at large.
“People are quick to judge when they don’t know you,” Williams said. “If you met him, you’d like him too. If only everyone would stop hating each other and just show a little love.”