By ANALISA TROFIMUK
Homicide Watch Chicago
Romaine Elkins’ last words to his cousin and best friend, Lawante Montgomery, were, “I love you,” not long before he was shot and killed on the evening of June 9 in the Austin neighborhood.
Elkins, 18, was standing in 1500 block of North Linder when he was fatally shot, according to Chicago Police.
Before moving to the west suburban Naperville, Elkins was a Chicago resident. He attended Chicago Jesuit Academy, where he played cymbals and bass drum under the direction of Isaiah Spencer.
Spencer has taught percussion for 20 years and currently teaches at New Trier High School in Winnetka. He taught Elkins at CJA from about 2011 to 2013. According to Spencer, Elkins was always the comedian and leader in the drumline.
Elkins “proclaimed” to his classmates that he was the funny guy, according to Spencer, who called him a genuinely nice guy whom younger students and his two younger brothers looked up to as a role model.
“He was always looking out for younger students in his own ‘Elkins way’,” Spencer said.
Montgomery, 19, said burying his cousin was especially difficult because they were closer than cousins-they were like brothers.
And according to Montgomery, his cousin was not the type to shy away from anyone especially, when it came to his family.
“Romaine is like the Michael Jackson in this family,” Montgomery said, “He stood out because he wasn’t shy and got to know all his family members just like his mom raised him.”
One of Elkins’ uncles spoke to the crowd at his memorial service at Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside.
“No matter how we feel, what we think, the emotions that we carry, his will still has to go on,” Elkins’ uncle said.
Watch one of the songs performed at the service as well as Elkins’ uncle’s speech here.
Elkins taught his cousin how to play basketball in exchange for learning how to cook their favorite chicken recipe. According to Montgomery, cooking together was a comical experience.
“I put him in charge of cleaning the chicken and this guy literally just picked up some soap to wash the chicken,” he said.
Montgomery said he and Elkins had plans to open a restaurant together before he was killed. He would name the buffet in honor of his cousin, “Ro-Ro’s Buffet,” the nickname Montgomery used for Elkins.
“I had to bury my cousin…I don’t have my friend anymore, [over] a month later and I’m still hurting ‘cause my boy is not here,” Montgomery said.