By BLAIR PADDOCK
Homicide Watch Chicago
Rashaad H. Crawford, 23, was known as a dreamer in his Back of the Yards community. When he wasn’t working his business, he was inspiring kids on the basketball court.
He had big aspirations, not only him and his sister, but for all the kids in the community.
“These kids looked up to him not only as a basketball coach, but as a mentor,” his girlfriend, Danielle Holmes, said.
But in a crime that sent shockwaves through the community, Crawford was shot in the chest and left arm on July 16 in the South Shore neighborhood. Two male suspects approached and shot him as he sat in a parked vehicle at 3:17 a.m. in the 2100 block of East 71st Street, according to Chicago Police.
He was taken to Northwestern Memorial hospital, where he died at 4:02 a.m., authorities said.
Crawford was hanging out with friends at the time of the shooting, Holmes said.
“They must of thought they were shooting someone else—he wasn’t in the streets,” Holmes said.
Crawford wanted to get out of Chicago, according to his sister, Kaya Crawford. Coming from a childhood of inattentive parents, he “wanted to be the difference,” she said.
His childhood motivated him to be an entrepreneur and strive to constantly learn, his mentor, Beyonca Johnson, said. He frequented Dream Center Chicago, an organization to help young adults find jobs, develop businesses, and achieve their goals.
He was into fashion and wanted to turn that love into a way to make money, Johnson said.
“He was motivated my success and the community should understand there are so many people like him,” Johnson said. “They just need some guidance—we need to help kids in Rashaad’s honor.”
He also dedicated much of his time to playing and coaching basketball. He played in high school at South Park Career Academy, and in recent years had been coaching children in the neighborhood.
“The kids are the ones really hurt by this,” Holmes said.
Even with the rampant violence in Chicago, Crawford believed he could help make a change in the city he loved, Holmes said. “People are killing innocent pedestrians and are careless,” she said.
“[Crawford] motivated me to do better and [showed me] that there’s no limit to success,” Holmes said. “These people don’t know what they’ve done and who they killed.”