By ASHLEE REZIN
Chicago Sun-Times Wire
Christopher Hardrick was shot to death early Tuesday during a vigil that brought dozens of people to a block in the West Englewood neighborhood.
“He was one of the most passive, sweetest people you could meet,” Hardrick’s aunt, Tammie Hardrick, 52, said. “He was not a gangbanger, I just think he had the wrong choice of friends.”
Officers were called at 2:37 a.m. about a person shot in the 6600 block of South Oakley and arrived to find the man lying unresponsive on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head, according to Chicago Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Family members identified the victim as the 28-year-old Hardrick, who lived with his grandfather on the block.
“I can’t possibly imagine why somebody would shoot Chris,” said Tammie Hardrick, one of more than a dozen people gathered outside the crime scene tape early Tuesday.
Several people were still wearing black T-shirts from the vigil that had ended hours earlier, reading, “Happy birthday Lolo RIH 9/25.” The vigil, which had a balloon release, was for a 17-year-old boy who fatally shot himself Aug. 15 at a home day care in the 6500 block of South Oakley.
“We were just hanging out, having a party, like people do. But then someone came out of the gangway and started shooting,” said one man at the scene who asked not to be named. “We all ducked and ran… . It was crazy.”
The man, who has lived in the neighborhood his whole life, said he heard at least six gunshots.
“It’s like this all the time around here,” the man said. “This is one of the deadliest blocks in Chicago. Shootings like this are ordinary.”
Tammie Hardrick’s husband, Anthony, said he found out about his nephew’s death when he got a phone call from his father early Tuesday. He then called Christopher Hardrick’s mother—Anthony’s sister—from the scene.
“We’ve had death in our family, but not violent death,” said Anthony Hardrick, 54, who has lived two blocks from the crime scene since 1976. He added that Christopher was wearing his custodial work uniform, which helped family members identify him at the scene.
He said his nephew was a nice, easy-going man, who “always had a smile on his face.” They were “shooting the breeze” just two days ago.
“He thought the people he was with tonight were his friends,” Anthony Hardrick said of his nephew. “But there’s nothing in these streets but violence. I would’ve told him to go home.”