By LOU FOGLIA
Homicide Watch Chicago
Tykina Ali loved to laugh, family members recall.
And her mother, Tykia Watts, said the 20-year-old was persistent at getting others to laugh with her.
“If you was down, she would bring you up,” Watts said. “If you would see her down, then you’d know something was really wrong.”
Ali, of the 1600 block of West Ogden, was shot in the head Aug. 23 while riding in a vehicle in the 2600 block of South Kedzie, Chicago Police said.
She later died after being brought to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, according to police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Police said she had been a passenger in a vehicle when someone in another vehicle nearby fired shots.
On the day of Ali’s death, more than 200 people gathered with balloons, candles and posters for a memorial outside her elementary school, John Hay Community Academy, her mother said.
Even more people attended her funeral on Sept. 3.
“I got 300 obituary [cards] for her funeral,” Watts said. “Everyone didn’t even get one.”
Watts recalled the weekend before her daughter’s shooting. She had braided Tykina’s hair. On Saturday, she had dressed up—despite there being no formal occasion.
“She was happy,” Watts said “To see my daughter happy was just beautiful.”
That Monday evening was the last time Watts saw her daughter. Ali told her mother she loved her, said goodbye and headed out of the family’s home.
“That was it,” Watts said. “…That was it.”
Watts said she knew of no leads in the investigation of her daughter’s fatal shooting, adding she was frustrated with notions that the shooting was gang related.
“They are trying to make it a case of gang violence … my daughter was not in a gang,” Watts said. “The main thing I want is justice for my baby. She wasn’t a bad child and she didn’t deserve to go through what she went through.”
Ali graduated from Austin Career Academy in 2014. She began working for Blistex in July, and was considering attending Harold Washington College to study nursing.
Blistex announced it had made a donation to Ceasefire Illinois, a foundation that works to prevent gun violence, in honor of her death.
“We join her family and friends in morning her passing,” a statement from the company said.
No one was in custody in connection with the shooting as Area Central detectives investigate. It was not known if she was the intended target.