By MATTHEW HENDRICKSON, ASHLEE REZIN and JEFF MAYES
Simone D. McKay, a young mother of two, was found shot to death early Sunday on the front porch of her home in the Rosemoor neighborhood, just blocks away from Chicago State University, where she was a student.
Officers responded to a call of a person shot shortly after midnight and found the 26-year-old unresponsive on the porch of her home in the 9600 block of South Forest, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
She had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:13 a.m., authorities said.
Her neighbors described hearing a single loud shot. Some thought it could be thunder or a lightning strike, but soon after, the block was filled with police vehicles and investigators began knocking on doors.
One man, who watched the scene from his porch, said he couldn’t believe that the victim was the “clean cut, put together woman” he frequently saw coming and going.
“It’s just too sad to think about,” he said. “It looked like she was just going up inside.”
The bungalow-lined block where McKay lived and died is filled with families and seniors, her neighbors said. Kids who live on the block frequently play together in the yards, and neighbors are friendly but keep to themselves.
“It’s quiet, but lately it’s been quieter. I think everyone is stunned, numb,” a neighbor who gave her name as Karen said. “She was a nice person, a loving mother.”
Known as “Coco,” McKay was a 2009 graduate of Marist High School.A post on the Marist Alumni Facebook page read: “The Marist community mourns the loss of Simone McKay ’09. Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.”
She attended Tennessee State University before enrolling as a biology major at Chicago State, where she was a senior, according to school spokesman Wendell Hutson.
She was a member of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students. That group will conduct a candlelight ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the CSU Quad, near the student union building and CTA stop off South Saint Lawrence Avenue.
She was also a part-time employee of Chicago Public Schools, where she had worked in the Office of Early Childhood Education since August 2015.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Simone McKay,” a statement from CPS spokesman Michael Passman said. “The Chicago Public Schools family is deeply saddened by this tragic loss.”
McKay had a son, Devin Jr.; and a daughter, Peighton. A GoFundMe page has been set up to start an education fund for the children.
“I try my best not to ask for things I don’t need but I have a request,” McKay’s uncle, Earl McKay, posted to Facebook. “Please pray for me and my family. Although my spirit is damaged and heart is heavy, the Lord has us covered.”
Two women, who live across the street with young children of their own, said McKay moved to the block earlier this year.
“She was always friendly,” one of the women said. “Since we have kids, we’d talk a bit, but she was busy. She was sweet, but she kept to herself.”
The other woman said she wouldn’t feel at ease again until someone was in custody.
“I don’t know how someone could do this to her,” she said.
No one was in custody as of Tuesday morning as Area South detectives conduct a homicide investigation.
A police source said the shooting may be domestic-related.