The cop who came to Rashawnda Rice’s house on Memorial Day didn’t get very far.
“He just asked, is this JoJo’s house?” the 19-year-old college student recalled on Tuesday.
She looked out the front door and saw red tape around an area of Euclid Park. Then she took off running. She knew her older brother, Jervon Morris — about three months shy of 21 — had been at the park playing basketball, just like he was every day.
Just as suddenly as she broke into a sprint, she stopped in her tracks. She could tell it was her brother lying on the ground, a bullet wound to the head.
“From his shoes,” she said through tears.
Morris was one of seven people killed over the Memorial Day weekend. In all, 52 people were shot, down from 71 a year ago. One of the city’s most violent police districts, Harrison on the West Side, recorded no shootings.
All that was little comfort to Rice.
Her brother was legally blind, though he retained a sliver of eyesight, about enough to see shadows and blurs, Rice and her uncle Deryl Young told the Tribune. He had other physical impairments, such as trouble with his strength and with walking, Young said. It was anyone’s guess how he taught himself to hoist up the basketball and hurl it at a hoop he could hardly see, but through determination he made it work.
He could read Braille and was a graduate of Curie High School, where his favorite class was “Mobility,” which aims to teach special needs students skills such as how to get around the city using public transportation. He had been volunteering with the Chicago Park District since his graduation nearly two years ago, his family said.
“He did this job fair and he met someone at the job fair who worked at a park district and they were disabled,” Rice said. “And he figured, if he can do it, I can do it, too.”
He had been working on a resume so he could get a paying job with the park…