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Police, family: 72-year-old killed in gangway was heading to dialysis

A Far South Side man was in a gangway just steps from his home early Saturday when he was shot to death in an apparent robbery attempt while walking toward the ride scheduled to take him to a dialysis appointment.

Neighbors, family members and the driver of the PACE van there for the pickup alike heard the shots that felled 72-year-old William Strickland, who neighbors said had lived in the home in the 400 block of East 95th Street in the Brainerd neighborhood for 30-some years.

He was described by neighbors and friends as friendly and willing to lend a helping hand.

"He was just there for us," said Theolene Shears, 84, who has lived in the area since 1965. "He was a very nice neighbor. We couldn't ask for a better neighbor."

Strickland was shot about 3:30 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene about 4 a.m., according to authorities. The motive appears to be robbery, police said, but detectives are still investigating.

Detectives remained at the scene, across from Chicago State University, into the morning.

Police taped off the northeast corner of 95th Street and Eberhart Avenue, surrounding the two houses between which the man was killed.

Strickland's grandson was inside the home and heard the shots; his family later declined to answer questions about Strickland's death. Shears also was inside her home.

"All I heard was three shots. Bang, bang, bang," she said.

Strickland, who went to dialysis three times a week, had been undergoing treatment for about five years, Shears said. Patrick Wilmot, spokesman for PACE, confirmed that Strickland had a scheduled pickup at 3:30 a.m. and that he was being taken to a standing dialysis appointment.

"He seemed to be very happy about it. The way he talked it was like a little social club," Shears said of the dialysis treatments, adding that he eased her own concerns about potentially having to receive treatment.

He preferred to go early on Saturdays to get it out of the way, she said.

Strickland leaves behind a daughter, three grandchildren and a pet Chihuahua, said Shears.

"He was a good man," said Joshua Miles, 14, a friend of the family. "He would help you out if you needed help."

"He always kept you laughing," he said.

pnickeas@tribune.com
Twitter: @peternickeas

nnix@tribune.com
Twitter: @nsnix87.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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