Terrence Graves left for work at 4 a.m. every day to sell newspapers and fruit near a Dan Ryan Expressway ramp.
Graves, 23, had been on the job for about 90 minutes Tuesday morning when he was shot and killed, apparently by two men seen running in an alley near the gas station where Graves worked at 99th and Halsted streets in the Washington Heights neighborhood on the South Side.
"They came up on him at 5:30 this morning and shot him. Several times," his mother, Teresa, said. "Not just once, several times. I want to know why."
Teresa Graves was at a loss to explain why anyone would want to kill her son, who had a fiancee and a 4-year-old daughter. Police said Terrence Graves had no known gang affiliations.
"I think it's horrible," Teresa Graves said, standing not far from where her son was slain. "I know this kid doesn't mess with anyone. I mean, I don't understand, I'm thinking it's a mistaken identity. But somebody said he got into it with somebody, so I don't know. Argument, maybe over some apples, I don't know.
"He only sells papers and fruit. He goes home, he's home at 11 o'clock," Graves said, crying. "He leaves for work at 4 o'clock in the morning. It ain't nothing else the kid do. So what happened here, I'm thinking mistaken identity. But it may be a gang thing because he got into it with somebody yesterday."
Graves started smiling when asked about her son. "He's a great kid, he has one daughter. I loved him to death and I'll love him forever.
"I'm just praying and wishing whoever did this, they get him. He didn't deserve this, he was a good kid."
Two armed men in white T-shirts and dark jeans confronted Terrence Graves and fled south through an alley behind the gas station, according to Officer John Mirabelli, a police spokesman.
He said Graves did not have any gang affiliation. "There's no motive. ... They're still working the case,'' Mirabelli said.
Detectives are canvassing the neighborhood to see if anybody saw the attack and if any cameras captured the incident, Mirabelli said.Copyright © 2015, RedEye