Family and friends expressed frustration and despair Sunday over the death of Michael Flournoy, a sophomore at Simeon High School with no arrest record, who was shot and killed Saturday night near where one relative said his cousin was shot and killed a few years ago.
“The people that stole his life had no reason,” the 16-year-old’s grandfather Samuel Woods said Sunday. “There’s no way I’m gonna stand here and say, ‘I’m OK. I don’t know how long it will be before I’m OK.’”
While recalling his grandson, Woods stood among mourners and onlookers in front of the red brick wall of St. Anthony's Church in the 1000 block of East 93rd Street where Flournoy was shot Saturday night.
Friends and neighbors of the football player and wrestler hung around a memorial of balloons, stuffed animals and candles in the Burnside neighborhood. Some scrawled that they loved him on a poster board that pleaded in large, red letters: “Stop killing these kids!”
Flournoy was visiting his cousins over the weekend, as he often did, Woods said. According to preliminary reports from a police source, he was on the street just before 8 p.m. when he got into an argument or fight with at least one occupant of a silver or gray car. Someone from the car then opened fire, shooting Flournoy in the head. He was pronounced dead minutes later at the scene. Police said he had no arrest record.
His grandmother, Sabrina Butler, said she believes that argument happened while Flournoy and his cousin were going to buy a snack before a movie and involved a man who didn’t want the pair talking to his daughter.
“He never made it to the store to get chips,” Butler said. “If he had said, ‘We’ll meet at the movies,’ he’d still be alive today.”
The sophomore probably would have continued playing school sports, friends and family said. He may have gotten a summer job at Navy Pier and slowly worked toward his dream to become an architect.
Michael Flournoy's wrestling coach, Carnell Jones, told WGN-TV that Flournoy “was just a good kid.”
“He worked really hard and was just really focused on doing better, doing well,” Jones said. “He was always talking about his grades. It's just shocking and really hard to swallow.”
Flournoy helped his mother run his house with three younger brothers at East 80th Street and South Evans Avenue, according to his aunt, Sheree Dixon.
“He took care of his brothers and sisters,” Dixon said. “He took care of his mom. He was his mom’s backbone.”
Butler said Flournoy’s cousin was killed nearby several years ago. Patrick Stribling, 22, was shot about 12:15 p.m. June 7, 2009. Stribling was a witness in a murder case at the time of his death, and two men, Jeffrey Allen and Caleb Charleston, were convicted Nov. 1, 2012, of his murder. Allen, now 21, is serving 85 years in prison, and Charleston, now 23, is serving 75 years in prison.
Flournoy did not spend time on the street, Butler said, but instead kept busy on the school’s football team and with wrestling and family trips to places like Michigan.
He was planning to go with Butler and another cousin to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry in a couple of months, Butler said.
“We’re going to still go, but we’re just going to take the memory of him,” she said.
“The best of the best is gone.”
Tribune reporters Jeremy Gorner and Liam Ford contributed to this report.