Amanda Lenoir remembered her 14-year-old son, Marshawn Mitchell, as funny, smart and an overall good kid. Mitchell loved playing football and his dream was to play in the NFL.
Mitchell, a freshman at Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, was fatally shot Friday near the school after Hillcrest’s Homecoming game against Oak Forest High School.
“He went to the Hillcrest homecoming game and he never made it home,” Lenoir said. “He was my only child. I don’t know how I’m going to go on without him.”
Mitchell, of the 17100 block of Holmes in Hazel Crest, was pronounced dead at 9:40 p.m. Friday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy found he died of a gunshot wound to the chest and his death was ruled a homicide.
According to a police report, shots were fired about 9 p.m. near the school at 17401 Pulaski Road. Police already were in the area as officers were dispersing a group of students near the school when the shots were heard.
“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the devastating loss of one of our Hillcrest High School students following a shooting incident that occurred on 175th Street,” Bremen School District 228 said in a statement issued Saturday. “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of all those involved in this tragedy.”
In the wake of the shooting, the school’s Homecoming dance was canceled. On Monday, a memorial with balloons, stuffed animals, candles, a football and poster boards marked with messages of love and grief was assembled along the circle drive in front of the school.
District officials said “supporting resources” would be available for students on Monday, but by noon Monday the school had been emptied of students because of an electrical fire in the building, according to a message posted on social media by school officials.
“Be assured, this is not related to the events from this weekend,” the district noted.
Country Club Hills police Chief John Galvin released a statement Monday saying Friday’s shooting is still under investigation and that “no critical updates are available.”
Lenoir said she’s hopes to get justice for her son.
“I hope they follow through and find who killed my son,” Lenoir said.
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Lenoir said Mitchell transferred to Hillcrest High School only a week ago from Brother Rice High School, and he looked forward to playing football at his new high school. He’d joined the Brother Rice team this summer after playing previously for in the Southside Seahawks and Midwest Seahawks youth football teams, his mother said.
“He loved football so much. He just wanted to play football,” Lenoir said.
Mitchell graduated in May from Prairie-Hills Junior High School in Markham on the same weekend Lenoir graduated from nursing school, she said. To celebrate, the family took a trip to the Wisconsin Dells.
“He was so proud of me and I was so proud of him,” Lenoir said. “I just want my son to be remembered as a funny, smart, intelligent son who loved football. He always put a smile on my face when I was down.”
Community activist Andrew Holmes said his organization is offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
“The mother is devastated because this is her only child,” Holmes said. “She don’t have another child to lean on.”
Tina Thomas, Mitchell’s great aunt, started a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral expenses.