Chicago Sun-Times Wire
Edward Mason, described as a “kind” man who always smiled, was shot to death early Sunday in the West Town neighborhood on the Near West Side, just blocks from the United Center.
Officers responded to a call of shots fired at 3:14 a.m. and found the 41-year-old lying on the ground in an empty lot in the 1800 block of West Maypole, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Mason, who lived in the North Center neighborhood, had been shot in the head and chest, and was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:35 a.m., police and the medical examiner’s office said.
A man identified by family members and friends as one of the victim’s three children approached the vacant lot and collapsed, wailing. His father could be seen lying in the grass, only a few blocks from the United Center, which loomed in the background.
“He always smiled, he was very kind,” said a 69-year-old woman who lives in the neighborhood and identified the victim by his nickname, “Head.” She said she had known him since he was about 10 years old, but asked to remain anonymous.
“He didn’t deserve that,” said the woman, one of more than a dozen people gathered early Sunday around the crime scene tape.
She added that she called the victim’s mother, who lives in Minnesota, from the scene.
“She’s on her way up here,” the woman said. “He just said last week or the week before that, that he was gonna visit her.”
A neighbor, who asked to be identified only as Moe, said he and his wife were lying in bed dozing off when they heard 15 gunshots.
“I heard the commotion, people talking loud, next thing you know, there’s shooting,” he said. “I’d say ‘duck’ is an understatement. My wife grabbed me and I rolled on the floor with her.”
Moe, who has lived in the neighborhood for about five years, said he went outside after the gunfire stopped and found “Head,” someone he knew from the neighborhood, lying in the field.
“He was cool, he didn’t bother nobody,” Moe said.
As the sun started to rise, the 69-year-old woman noted that she needed to start getting ready for church. She added that her 19-year-old daughter was shot to death 22 years ago in the same neighborhood.
“God’s will is gonna be done, regardless of what we do or how we think,” she said. “That’s why they say we gotta be prepared at all times.”