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A boy described by neighbors and friends as cheerful, loving and positive was killed on his 15th birthday, in violence that authorities believe wasn't intended for him.
Jovany Diaz was celebrating near his home on the 4300 block of West Hirsch Street in West Humboldt Park when a man came out of a nearby alley, trapped him and shot him in the chest. The Amundsen High School freshman was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to his friends and family, Jovany was a straight-A student with no history of trouble and no involvement in gangs. Instead, they say, he was friendly to everyone, and passionate about basketball, wanting to be the next Michael Jordan.
His father, Jesus Diaz, told NBC tearfully that he hoped his son's killer would meet justice. "I hope that your conscience, whoever did it, gets you to the point where you could turn yourself in," he said.
Police say that Diaz wasn't the intended target of the shooting, according to ABC-7, and that it was likely gang-involved.
To add to the tragedy, another man was shot in both legs as Jovany's loved ones were mourning his passing.
Chicago Sun-Times reporter Kim Janssen was attending the memorial for Diaz when he became a witness to a separate shooting:
Even when the crazed teenager standing five yards from me on the corner fired two warning shots into the sky, it didn’t sound loud enough.
Nobody in the crowd of 25 to 30 mourners seemed to believe he could be so brazen.
Then the gunman lowered his snub-nosed black revolver, aimed down Kildare and fired two or three shots, and we stopped rationalizing and ran for our lives.
The victim isn't likely to press charges, authorities say, because the area is contested gang territory and he's likely to fear retaliation. Few witnesses other than Janssen gave information to investigators for the same reason.