By Bob Seidenberg, Mark Konkol and Natasha Koreck, Suntimes Review: EVANSTON — In an essay he wrote last week, Dajae Coleman expressed appreciation for the support he received from friends and family.
“My friends and family, they really care about me; they get me the things I need, and they make sure I am always doing good in school,” he wrote. “My mom pushes me to do better, she always tells me to never settle.”
In the same essay, which was shared by Alderman Peter Braithwaite, Dajae voiced concern about those who don’t have that kind of support.
“I think the kids that are on the street not doing anything with their lives don’t get the type of support they need from family,” Dajae wrote. “They probably don’t have anyone to look up to.”
Dajae Coleman, 14, wrote that Thursday for the Humanities 1 Class he was enrolled in at Evanston Township High School. On Saturday night, the Evanston teen was shot to death. Police have released few details about the incident.
Dajae is described as an accomplished basketball player, a participant in the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program, and a student doing well in his freshman year of high school.
“He wasn’t one of those guys,” said Dajae’s father, Richard Coleman. “He wasn’t someone who you’d think would get killed like this. But really, in the society we’re living in he actually was … one of the good ones, the innocent ones that leave early.”
On Saturday, Dajae asked his father for permission to go to a party with his pals that night.
“He told me where it was. I said, ‘OK, but don’t be sitting around there on the street. Don’t go wandering. Call me after the party. Don’t walk,’ ” Richard Coleman said. “He said, ‘OK, Dad. I’ll call you.’ … And he never called me back.”
At about 10:30 p.m., Dajae was fatally shot in the 1500 block of Church Street. Friends say he was leaving a party when he was shot. About 45 minutes later, Dajae’s mother, Tiffany Rice, called Coleman and told him to come to the police station.
“When she started crying, I thought he got beaten up or maybe done something stupid,” Coleman said. “When I got there, I asked the people where’s my d—— son so I can kick his a—. They didn’t respond. I got blank faces.”
After a few minutes in the police department lobby, Coleman asked if his boy had gotten shot.
“When he said, ‘Yeah.’ I ran upstairs to find his mother,” Coleman said.
Police didn’t have many details. “They said, ‘It wasn’t meant for him,’” Coleman said.