By BLAIR PADDOCK
Homicide Watch Chicago
Instead of planning a birthday party for her brother’s 21st birthday, Angie Bowie was looking up spiritual strength ceremonies to honor his memory.
“He was going to go back to school—he was about to have his birthday,” Bowie said. “This all happened right in front of my door.”
Four days before his 21st birthday, Darius Gavin was shot to death on July 24 in the Park Manor neighborhood. Another sister was grazed by the bullet.
The pair were standing in the 7100 block of South Rhodes around 10:20 p.m., according to Chicago Police. A silver Nissan Altima pulled up and three males got out, then opened fired.
Gavin suffered a gunshot wound to the head and both siblings were taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Gavin was pronounced dead at 11:06 p.m., while his sister’s condition was stabilized, authorities said.
“They almost got my sister and everyone in my family is stuck with PTSD,” Bowie said. “We don’t want to go down on 71st Street anymore.”
The family is taking donations on Facebook to help with the funeral costs.
Two weeks before the murder, the family had just buried a cousin, according to Bowie.
She said neither of the victims were involved in any gangs or “in the streets,” and neither deserved their fate. She said she blames the government’s contempt towards the African-American community for causing this violence.
“My brother was killed because of the government’s disrespect to the black community,” Bowie said.
Gavin lived in the Riverdale neighborhood, where he was working while taking a break from college. In school, Gavin was involved in wrestling, according to Domonique Edwards, a friend of the family.
“Once when [Gavin] and my family were over he started wrestling and wiped out everyone in the house,” Edwards said. “But he was still ready to do more—he was a big ball of life.”
Besides wrestling, he had taken an interest in dancing and singing, Edwards said.
Even on his bad days, he always tried to make everyone smile, she added.
“Every time I would see Darius, he would say to me ‘you got to see this new dance move’,” Edwards said.
Gavin was supportive to his friends and family, giving friend Mary Fleming motivation in academics when she wanted to give up. His encouraging nature touched all around him, inspiring a more positive attitude, she said.
“He was a humble, caring and loving person who tried his best to make everything right,” Fleming said.
Bowie hopes that Gavin’s death can help spur change in the community. She pointed out how the education system does not teach people to deal with the violence. And she wants people to become more active in trying to create peace in their communities.
“You can sit back and mope, or you can create change,” Bowie said. “I’m not just not going to sit down and mope—this is our existence.”