Nibra White is a friend of mine. He works at the McGaw YMCA in Evanston as a coach and personal trainer. Among his other activities, he is a coach for the youth basketball league sponsored by the Fellowship of African-American Men (FAAM) in Evanston. One of his "great kids" was a young guy named Dajae Coleman (aka "Dae Dae"), a 14-year old honors student starting his basketball career as a point guard at Evanston Township High School. Nibra's assessment of Dae Dae - quiet, well-mannered, bright, "coachable." I didn't know Dajae, but I have probably seen him around town. We are all "one degree of separation" apart in Evanston - we are connected, although we don't always act like it.
Dae Dae was killed at about 10:30 PM on Saturday night as he walked home from a party in his neighborhood in Evanston. He was doing what kids do - hanging around with his friends and having some fun. Some bloodthirsty idiot shot him, randomly it seems. So we won't get to see what this fine young man might have achieved, what life he was going to construct for himself.
Killings are up about 40% in Chicago this year and it is no surprise that the carnage is spilling over to Evanston since we are smack up against the big city. Street rumor is that the shooter of Dae Dae came from just south of Howard Street. The Evanston Police Department is pushing to find the perp, of course. It is really hard to solve these murders because folks won't talk to the police.
And the incident last Saturday occurred within walking distance of another murder, the 2005 slaying of Linda Twyman. This nice, 40-something lady was slaughtered in her own home; no arrests, no resolution in sight. The case made a local splash when it happened, but it faded from sight. The murder of a regular, hard-working divorced mom doesn't hold the public's attention for long, sad to say. The case is cold as ice. I wonder if the Evanston Police is still working on it? I knew Linda, slightly, and I am sad that this case hasn't been cracked.
The chance of getting killed by a random attack is really very small. Perhaps it is the rarity and capriciousness of these infrequent events that rattle us. The tragedy of lives cut short is always intense, but even more when the victim is blameless and doesn't even know their assailant. I have kept Linda Twyman in my thoughts for seven years; I am adding Dajae Coleman to my list of lost Evanstonians in need of justice.