BY SUSAN DU
Homicide Watch Chicago
Derrick Bowens was supposed to attend his son’s graduation.
Bowens, 33, was fatally shot about 9:50 a.m. June 5 outside his home in the 7000 block of South Morgan Street, authorities said.
Police said Bowens was standing outside when a black car pulled up and a passenger in the rear seat opened fire — striking him in the abdomen. Bowens had just left the house to get breakfast before a job interview when he was shot while talking with a friend.
After nine hours of surgery, the father of seven died at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, family said.
Bowens grew up in the Hilliard Homes public housing complex and later moved to the Englewood neighborhood, family said. Court records indicate he pleaded guilty to drug charges in 1999, 2006 and 2010. He received his GED from Kennedy-King College and worked odd jobs in home remodeling, family said.
“Derrick meant the world to me,” his mother, Debra Bowens said. “He was a good child. He helped you. He would do anything for you. He was a good father to his children, the ones that was around him. And he was a good man.”
But what set him apart him from his seven siblings and numerous cousins was his deep sense of humor, his mother and dreamed of being a standup comedian, family said.
Miesha Bowens, a cousin who considered Derrick Bowens to be more like a big brother, said a lot of humor went out of her life with his death.
“He was honestly everybody favorite. From the time you met up with him to the time you left, you would be crying, laughing all day,” she said.
Days following the murder, Miesha Bowens said she couldn’t sleep, but she could laugh about the last time Derrick Bowens poked fun at a little cousin by incessantly tickling his ear while he slept.
Derrick Bowens loved to spend time with his family, Miesha Bowens said. He cooked, he cut hair, drank and joked at home. He talked about going into nursing just because he liked helping people.
Juanita Spencer, the mother of one of Derrick Bowen’s daughters, said she first struck up a conversation with him on the same street where he was killed. She said it was his tender and caring nature that hooked her.
“You felt his hugs, his warmth, that big old bright smile,” Spencer said. “He was always cracking jokes, like he used to tell me, ‘Get away from me, you just a drunk,’ but he’s always want to be around me anyway.”
Spencer and her daughter had moved to Minnesota, and though Derrick Bowens hadn’t seen the pair in years, he spoke to his daughter regularly on the phone. In the days preceding his death, they were planning a summer break reunion.
Spencer read a poem by her daughter during Derrick Bowens’ funeral:
“I remember you told me you loved me and you couldn’t wait to see me. I miss you a lot and I really wish I could have gotten to know you better. Although things happened the way they did, I never questioned your love for me. You were great Dad, and I loved you Dad.”
Nobody has been charged for the murder. Area Central detectives are investigating.