By Rosemary Regina Sobol
9:11 PM CDT, June 28, 2013
A 16-year-old Hyde Park Academy basketball player died Friday morning after a gun discharged in his South Shore neighborhood home, and authorities are investigating the circumstances but said it could be accidental.
Malcolm Whitney suffered a gunshot wound to the head in the 7500 block of South Kingston Avenue this morning and was pronounced dead at 10:34 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office.
While an official determination awaits an autopsy and investigation, authorities said some preliminary information points to the shooting being accidental.
Area South detectives are interviewing people in the death investigation, according to police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala, who could not confirm any of the circumstances of the shooting.
“Little Malcolm,’’ as his teammates nicknamed him, was a stand-out basketball guard with a 3.8 grade point average, who was a “great kid to be around’’ as well as a “great shooter’’ on the team, said his coach, Hyde Park Academy basketball coach Antonne Samuels.
“He just scored 30 points -- in back to back games -- this week during our summer league,’’ said Samuels.
Earlier this month, the teen also was invited to and attended a weekend “elite player camp’’ at the University of Southern California, Samuels said.
The boy was headed into his junior year at Hyde Park.
“He would have been my star player this year,’’ the coach said.
“He really could shoot the ball. Also, he was a great student athlete because he had a 3.8 out of a 4.0 grade point average,’’ according to Samuels, who added that his family would attend his games regularly.
“He had a great support system. He liked school, basketball and his family.’’
He’d only just recently, within the last six months or so, gotten to his 5-foot-10 height.
“He was short, he was really around 5-4 or 5-5 … he just sprouted up,’’ Samuels said. “But he was still known as Little Malcolm.’’
Samuels said he’d received a call from the school’s principal this morning, letting him know about the death. “They just told me they got a call and they weren’t sure what happened."
Samuels said this afternoon he was “not doing too well’’ after hearing such devastating news.
Chicago Fire Department paramedics were sent to the Kingston Avenue address about 10 a.m. for a gunshot victim, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. The victim was taken to Christ Medical Center in critical condition, and died there, according to Langford.
An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday to determine the cause and manner of the 16-year-old’s death, according to the medical examiner's office.
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