Gang war blamed in 13-year-old’s death

He was a good son and friend, a force to be reckoned with on the football field and an aspiring chef who burned a few meals, said the family and friends of an eighth grade boy.
That camaraderie and those dreams faded away Thursday after 13-year-old Samee

He was a good son and friend, a force to be reckoned with on the football field and an aspiring chef who burned a few meals, said the family and friends of an eighth grade boy. That camaraderie and those dreams faded away Thursday after 13-year-old Sameer Conn was fatally struck by a bullet a block away from his Southeast Side home. "He was just a few minutes from home, and he didn’t make it," said the boy’s grandmother, Elaine Mayo. The Bright Elementary School student, located in the Trumbull Park neighborhood, was on his way home from football practice a few blocks away when he and one of his best friends stopped in Hook Finer Foods near 106th and Bensley Avenue to get a bag of potato chips. Witnesses said a gang rivalry between the Gangster Disciples and the Latin Counts sparked the 8:15 p.m. shooting Wednesday. A 27-year-old man who was standing near the store was the intended target. He ran into the store once gunfire erupted, and the gunman continued to shoot while the man took cover in the store. The man was injured and Conn was hit in his side, according to witnesses. "Sameere raised up his shirt and said ‘I’m hit,’" said his 12-year-old friend.

The friend, who will remain anonymous, said Conn had a slight smile on his face because the wound appeared to be superficial. But then the boy stumbled in a back room of the store and collapsed. "I tried to help him back up, but the man in the store said to let the ambulance take care of him. We all thought he was going to be ok, but he wasn’t," the friend said. Conn, the oldest of four siblings, was pronounced dead at 3:40 a.m. Thursday at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Another one of Conn’s friends said there had been shootings in the area all week, and when he heard that his friend was shot, he just cried. "I wanted to go down there, but my mother wouldn’t let me go outside. We were in the same class," said the 14-year-old boy. A girl who lives next door to Conn in the 10700 block of South Bensley Avenue and also sat next to him in class is having a "hard time" coping with the boy’s sudden death, her mother said. "She’s grieving hard. I’m going to have to put her in counseling. They were friends outside of school, and they both wanted to go to culinary school. We just can’t believe this," Lilly Owen said about her 13-year-old daughter Ceclynn.

Police said there is no one in custody. Services for Conn are pending. ______ In photo: Sameere Conn (right) with his nine-year-old brother

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