www.redeyechicago.com/news/crime/chi-murder-victim-remembered-for-his-love-of-football-and-basketball-20130602,0,5513048.story

redeyechicago.com

Three charged in fatal party shooting

By Geoff Ziezulewicz

Tribune reporter

7:01 AM CDT, June 3, 2013

Advertisement

Thirty minutes before he was fatally shot at a family gathering Friday night on the Far South Side, Dionte Maxwell told his cousin to come over.

Then, some uninvited guests showed up, according to police and Maxwell's cousin, T'Shonda Davis.

"He called me back 10 minutes later and was like, 'Don't come,'" Davis recalled Sunday. "That's when everything started to occur."

Maxwell, 18, was trying to get the party crashers to leave his uncle's house in Chicago's Stony Island Park neighborhood when one of them shot him in the chest, Davis and police said.

Maxwell, who attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy and Rockford College, was pronounced dead shortly before midnight at Jackson Park Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiners office.

Davis, 20, said she decided to drive over anyway and kept calling her cousin, only to get his voice mail.

Jamal Patterson, her boyfriend and Maxwell's good friend, wasn't answering either.

"Now I'm starting to worry," she said. "As I'm driving, my boyfriend called me back. He was like, 'You need to get over here fast. They just shot Dionte.'"

Roland Hayes, 17, and Darrius White, 16, have been charged with first-degree murder, armed home invasion, attempted home invasion and mob action in Maxwell's death, prosecutors said.

Charles Southern, 19, of the 11000 block of South Vernon Avenue, also was charged Sunday night with first-degree murder, armed home invasion, attempted home invasion and mob action in Maxwell's death, police said.

Friends and family Sunday recalled Maxwell as the epitome of a stand-up guy who lived for football and basketball.

His Facebook wall is full of ruminations on girls, viral videos and posts that show a young man figuring out his place in the world.

"I want a job for now," he wrote in April. "Start a business later. Young and thinking like this. I'll prove a point to yall soon. Just watch!"

Maxwell was recruited and played cornerback for the Rockford College Regents football team last fall, said Jay Emmons, the team's assistant coach and defensive coordinator.

Emmons said Maxwell was "just an all-around good kid" who said little but listened a lot in class and team meetings.

"On the field, he was a little more vocal," Emmons said. "You don't think it's going to happen to someone like Dionte."

Emmons said Maxwell withdrew from school after the fall semester and that he did not know why Maxwell left, only that he heard it was a "family issue."

Davis said she didn't know why he left school but that he had missed his family.

Either way, Maxwell was always quick to speak about his skills as a shut-down defender, his cousin said.

"He knocked the person down. But he knocked himself out too," Davis recalled of Maxwell's proudest hit. "He said he played football so good that he knocked himself out."

Davis said Maxwell was more like a brother than a cousin to her, and that she had just seen him Friday morning, when they saw off their cousin, Bernard, who was heading to prom.

Maxwell said they should have a barbecue for Bernard that night.

His last words to her were, "I love you, be safe."

"I don't know if he felt something was going to happen, or something was wrong," she said.

Davis said Sunday she hasn't been able to drive since Maxwell's death.

But Saturday night, Davis said, she had a talk with her cousin.

"He came to me in a dream and said, 'I'm OK. There's no reason to be scared or sad,'" Davis said. "All I could do was just smile. I knew he was OK."

Devante Barbee, 19, said he met Maxwell when the two took a tour of Morehouse College in Atlanta as high school juniors.

"He always did the right thing," Barbee said. "He always stood up for what was right, and that's exactly what happened the moment he got killed. He got killed standing up for what was right."

Barbee said the death of his friend makes him glad to be going to school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, far away from Chicago's violence.

"This city's too much," Barbee said. "It was a family get-together. All he did was ask people to leave the party."

geoffz@tribune.com

Twitter @JournoGeoffZ