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James Williams

Age 18

Chicago, Illinois

"Goofy" teen liked to dance in public

He had one child, a baby boy name Zayski, whom he promised to love “always & forever.”

Nicknamed “Bigg Riff” and “Lil James,” his friends described him as “goofy,” especially when he would dance in public.

On Aug. 31, 2018, James Williams, 18, was standing with two people on a sidewalk in the southside Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, when someone shot him in the head and the chest. One friend posted a quote that blamed Chicago street life for what happened to Williams: The streets “will kidnap you, raise you, and then return you to your family so they can bury you.”

By Mary Claire Molloy · Age 18 and Jaiye Howard · Age 15
Meet the Reporters

More than 100 jokesters

Natwan Kian Holyfield

Supposed to go to homecoming, prom

Kaiden Vague

Sixteenth birthday. Golden birthday. Last birthday.

Eric Xavier Degori

His jokes could make anyone laugh

Will Earl Davis Jr.

The rising senior was always smiling

Rashiya Melton

Joins brother, leaves behind her twin

Edgar Alan Espino

Jokester loved to make people laugh

Daron Johnson

He went to celebrate another’s life

Jayvone J. Shackelford-Bishop

Friends together like Lilo & Stitch

Deandre Moon

Overnight tragedy for a basketball fan

Terale Claridy-Vaught

‘Solid’ friend barely gets to adulthood

Robert Carranza

He liked to post song lyrics

Amauri Green

Died while fixing a flat tire

Eddie Daiquan Grant

A devoted boyfriend and rap fan

Bryan Portales Escalante

Phone, wallet, shoes and, life — gone

Darion Gordon

Sixteen years erased by one bullet

Steven Alexander Jr.

He missed his first Father’s Day

Jonathan David Freeman Jr.

Debated anything, from music to Deflategate

Matthew James Jurado

Challenging student had a compassionate heart

Ryan J. Dillon

A playful boy, stopped by bullets

Manuel Lopez Jr.

High school senior set to graduate