By Peter Nickeas
9:16 AM CST, March 7, 2013
The corner of Hirsch Street and St. Louis Avenue was Ramon Colon's slice of Humboldt Park.
Neighbors said he could often be seen hanging out there with the same group. And that's where the 24-year-old died Wednesday night, shot by a gunman from an alley next to a vacant brick home with a red X on its side. Colon was hit several times, at least once in the head, and crumpled to the street.
“They always hang out in the corner," said a woman who lives on the block and knew Colon. "When cars pass by, just talking loud. It’s like their hangout. But shooting – the last time I heard some shooting was a couple months ago, but that was the block over, not on Hirsch.”
Police said they were looking into whether the shooting was gang-related. Police believe Colon belonged to a gang that apparently posted a video on YouTube two days ago, with one member flashing a gun and others yelling threats at a rival gang.
One of the men in the video had tattoos on his face and wore a black hoodie with a large yellow St. Louis Cardinals logo on the front. Another wore a red skull cap with the St. Louis Cardinals logo, similar to a hat worn by Colon in his Facebook photo.
The gang wears clothes with the Cardinals logo because it is based along St. Louis Avenue, according to police sources. The video appears to have been shot about half a mile west of the shooting on Hirsch.
Another neighbor who has lived in the area for 15 years said the gang's presence along the street is constant. “They don’t care how cold it is, they’ll still come outside,” said the young woman, who asked not to be identified.
The woman described how gangs wear their colors for parties and harass people driving down the street. "Drinking, smoking, just looking at who’s coming down the block."
The woman read from a prayer card the dates of birth and death of a 23-year-old man killed down the block a few years ago. She also knew Colon when she was younger.
Colon showed no signs of life when paramedics arrived shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday and he was pronounced dead about half an hour later at Norwegian American Hospital.
After the crime tape was cut down and the half-dozen police SUVs, crime lab trucks and unmarked sedans left, someone put a couch next to a pool of blood the size of a manhole cover and put out candles as a shrine. Police returned a short time later so the blood could be washed from the street.
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