A distraught mother has a double plea: for the gunmen who shot and killed one of her twin sons to turn themselves in and for law enforcement agencies to step up their efforts to rid Chicago streets of gun violence.
Jacqueline Dukes, of the 6100 block of S. Kimbark, and her family began the slow recovery process last week after burying her son as they try to find answers to his death.
Sergio Dukes was leaving a basketball game at Harlan High School, 9652 S. Michigan, when he, two friends, and an infant, were accosted by unknown gunmen for unknown reasons.
As he attempted to shield the baby from the impending gunfire, bullets struck him in the head and body and he died on the street.
The others, two teenage girls from Hyde Park High School, whose team was playing that night, and the baby, were not injured. No suspect had been arrested at Crusader press deadline and there is no indication the shooters were students at either school.
"I don't know what's gotten into these kids today," Jacqueline Dukes said, fighting back tears. "I'm finally at peace with what's happened to my son. I just want this killing to stop, the violence to stop. I want the people who did this to turn themselves in. Even if they don't, God knows who they are."
Dukes' son had recently graduated from high school and was about to take a culinary job in the kitchen at Apostolic Church of God. She described the former athlete as a "jack of all trades" who was passionate about carpentry and baking. His four surviving siblings, including Georgio, his twin brother, have been devastated by their loss, their mother said.
"He loved to bake and wanted to pursue that career if he couldn't get a job in construction," she explained. "I guess I'm at peace because I know he died trying to save those girls and that baby from being shot. He didn't run. He didn't jump in the car and pull away. He pushed them out of the way and saved their lives. This puts me at peace."
Chicago police would not comment on the case. However, people familiar with the area speculate that the homicide may have been captured on one of the police surveillance cameras near the school. Dukes said investigators have only spoken to her twice since Sergio's death. He is the fourth person she knows who has been killed by gun violence this year, she said.
The city has been gripped by youth violence for nearly two years with scores of Chicago Public School children murdered on school campuses or walking home from class. It has become a national epidemic that has left a deep scar on the city's image of "big shoulders."
Teenagers in Chicago are 10 times more likely to be the victims of gun violence than Illinois youngsters living outside the city. More than 650 of them were shot and killed between 2002 and 2006.
"I lost a nephew in August, a neighbor in September and heard about people getting shot all through my neighborhood," Dukes said, her outrage boiling. "Why can't the police stop the illegal trade of guns? These kids aren't going into gun shops and purchasing these weapons. An adult is buying them-and it's not anyone who just got out of jail. We must stop killing one another or there won't be anybody left."