By DAVID STRUETT
Homicide Watch Chicago
Jerrell J. Perkins, father of two and a restaurant manager, looked out for his family and friends, relatives said.
He even tried to help others keep their lives on the right track.
“He kept me out of jail and everything,” a relative said. “He made sure I had a plan.”
His positive impact on people’s lives makes his sudden loss so tragic for those who knew him.
Perkins was gunned down August 19 in a drive-by shooting in West Pullman. He was 26-years-old.
“Rell,” as he was known to many, was standing near a parked car in the 12200 block of South Green, when at about 4:30 a.m. a black SUV pulled up and someone inside started shooting.
Perkins was shot in the head and was taken to MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, where he was pronounced dead at 4:46 a.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office.
“He had a heart of gold,” Sherelle Murray, a coworker of Perkins, said. “Jarrell was a very overprotective, silly person. He would give his last to anybody.”
Perkins was the father of two boys, about 2 and 7-years-old, Murray said.
“He loved the kids,” she said. “He taught them the right way to do things. He always taught them to stick together no matter what.”
Perkins’ life had promising beginnings.
He graduated high school as salutatorian, he played basketball, and got a full-ride scholarship to Arizona State, the relative said.
But “he didn’t go there because he was too tied up in the streets,” he said. “He went to college for two years and then there were tragic events. He went to jail for a year-and-a-half.”
After that, Perkins “was just trying to change his life…and turn back away from the streets and do positive things,” he said.
His relatives agree the effort paid off.
Perkins started working at McDonalds on 115th and Halsted and was soon promoted to manager, the relative said.
“He was working there until the day he died,” he said.
Perkins was a laid-back boss who allowed his employees to crack jokes and have fun, according to his close relative who was hired to work at the same restaurant.
He was also generous with the poor and homeless.
“Around that area,” where Perkins worked, “there were a lot people from shelters,” his relative said. “When they didn’t have enough money, he would say, ‘I’m going to ring you up for this… and I’ll give you whatever you want.’”
“Every time they would come back, they would acknowledge him,” and thank him for the complimentary food, he said.
But Perkins preferred to keep his generosity hidden and to stay humble.
“He really ain’t express too much. He was nonchalant,” the relative said.
Perkins was friendly and loving to his family, always playing with his younger relatives.
“He loved playing video games,” his relative said. “We would gamble money on video games sometimes, but he would never take our money. He never did anything in a harmful way.”
Perkins cared for his kids selflessly.
“Anything they asked for, they got it,” he said. “And he always got it through working. He never committed crimes. He always worked for it.”
Perkins’ generosity and love for his family was matched by his positive energy, his relative said.
“Everybody loved him,” he said. “Whether you had bad intentions or not, he always showed you love.”
–Homicide Watch Chicago