Damond Dawson was “goofing around” with his brother and other relatives and friends, rapping and shooting video in Foster Park when two gunmen opened fire early Tuesday, killing Dawson and wounding four others, according to police and relatives. “Basically like an ambush,” said Dawson’s aunt, Angela Mathis-Tate, 44. “One coming west of the park and one coming south.”
The shooting happened around 2:20 a.m. as Dawson, 23, and a small group were “rapping around [taking] selfies with their phones” at Foster Park at 1440 W. 84th St, according to relatives.
Dawson was shot once in the back of the head and collapsed in the middle of the park, between a building and a playground. He was pronounced dead on the scene. A 19-year-old woman was shot twice in the groin area and was taken in serious condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center. Three other men took themselves to the same hospital: A 20-year-old man shot nine times in the leg and shoulder, a 25-year-old man grazed in the leg and an 18-year-old man grazed in the back. Their conditions were stabilized.
The men are all related, according to Mathis-Tate. Dawson’s brother was shot and the other two men are brothers who are Dawson’s second cousins.
“They were very close,” Mathis-Tate said. “It was like they were all brothers. They just hung out together, go to parties together, go to clubs.”
Some witnesses said the group was staging a party scene for a video tilted “Two Tecs and a 50 Shot,” but Mathis-Tate said they were just having some fun in the park.
“He was really, you know, just goofing around, playing like he could rap a little bit,” she said. “He wasn’t no rapper. He was a newcomer just trying to say some lyrics.” He sometimes went by the name “Thugga,” according to family and friends.
Foster Park is trouble at night when gang members feud with those on the other side of Ashland Avenue, Mathis-Tate said.
“It’s always drama up there. Nothing but drama … I told my nephew, please don’t be going up to that park,” she said. “They say, ‘We’re not, we’re not,’ and that’s what they always tell us.”
The area is particularly dangerous for young men, she said.
“It’s a good neighborhood for kids, not teenagers,” she said. “It’s not good for boys 13 through their 30s. Maybe even 40s. These guys, it’s madness. It has finally struck my home.”
Mathis-Tate and her sister, Dawson’s mother, went to Advocate Christ Medical Center hoping Dawson had survived. When they found out his body was still at the park, his mother froze.
“She wasn’t blinking, she wasn’t saying anything,” Mathis-Tate said. “I said, ‘You’ve got to get strong, you’ve got to get strong.’ ”
She was so distraught that they called a doctor out from the hospital to make sure she was OK. “She was going into shock,” Mathis-Tate said. “She’s got six boys, and now she’s only got five.”
Dawson was a “loving nephew” who didn’t bother anyone, Mathis-Tate said.
“People out here [are] just shooting people, other kids, for no reason,” she said. “It doesn’t mean anything to them but ‘oh yeah, let’s get this person.’ … They don’t have no concern for life anymore.”
At least eight other people were wounded in shootings on the West and South sides from midmorning Monday through early Tuesday, police said.
• At about 6:10 a.m. Tuesday, an 18-year-old man was shot in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, according to preliminary information from police. He was hit in both legs and the torso and went to Stroger Hospital. His condition was stabilized.
• At 3 a.m., a 17-year-old boy was shot in the Belmont Central neighborhood, police said. He was shot in the left calf and right thigh. He went to Community First Medical Center and his condition was stabilized.
• At 12:05 a.m., a 24-year-old man was critically wounded in South Austin. He was in the 5500 block of West Congress Parkway when he was shot in the chest and abdomen and grazed in the leg. He was listed in critical condition at Loyola University Medical Center.
• At about 9 p.m., a 30-year-old woman took herself to the hospital after being grazed in the head by a bullet in West Garfield Park. She told investigators she was in the 4300 block of West Wilcox Street when someone fired shots from a passing van. She got herself to Stroger Hospital and her condition was stabilized.
• At 7:35 p.m., a 19-year-old man was shot on a porch in South Shore, said Officer Veejay Zala, a police spokesman. He was sitting on a back porch in the 7200 block of South Bennett Avenue when someone fired shots, hitting him in the left leg. He went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and his condition was stabilized.
• About 6:05 p.m. two men were shot in the Homan Square Neighborhood, said Officer Kevin Quaid, a police spokesman. The men were on the sidewalk in the 3500 block of West Polk Street when someone they later told police they didn’t recognize opened fire.
A 28-year-old man was shot nine times and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. A 26-year-old woman was shot once in the buttocks and was taken to Mount Sinai in good condition.
• Earlier, a 22-year-old man was wounded Monday morning in a shooting on the South Side in the city’s Park Manor neighborhood.
The shooting happened about 9 a.m. in the 500 block of East 72nd Street, said Officer Nicole Trainor, a Chicago police spokeswoman. The man suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken in good condition to St. Bernard Hospital, Trainor said.