Family: Slain teen Michael Bloodson enjoyed arts, technology

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | Nov. 20, 2014

Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy student Michael Faheem Bloodson recently developed a passion for glassblowing.

Bloodson, 17, was shot in head in the 3900 block of South Prairie Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood about 3 p.m. Sept. 13, authorities said. He died at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County less than an hour later.

“It hurts so much because he had his whole future ahead of him,” said his grandmother, Debra Bloodson. “So many things we could have done. I looked forward to my grandson being something very special, because whatever he did, he would do it very well.”

At Bloodson’s funeral, one of his teachers brought his grandmother the glasswork he made for her in class.

“I have them — so special. I will never, ever part from them,” Debra Bloodson said.

In addition to glassblowing, Debra Bloodson said her grandson was good with technology and wanted to pursue a career in computers, possibly a computer programmer.

“He would take the laptop at home, he would get my phone, his phone, his grandfather’s phone, and be doing like three or four things at once,” she said.

Outside the classroom, Michael Bloodson was a naturally talented athlete who played baseball, basketball and football, said his grandfather, William Burks.

Burks said his grandson was transferred to an elementary school in a rough area because of neighborhood school closures and he “learned to be tough, sometimes unnecessarily so.”

Burks said Michael Bloodson started showing signs of trouble in high school, and he believes the school system failed to provide a support system.

“They were supposed to have done a personal development plan for him, where the parents meet with counselors and so forth, that was never done for him,” Burks said. “And as a result, I think it had some psychological harm.”

Despite acting out occasionally like a normal teenager, relatives described Michael Bloodson as a young man with many talents and who could light up a room.

“Michael had a big personality and he was very outspoken,” said his mother, Latoya Powell. “He had a lot of friends.”

In addition to his friends, Michael Bloodson was close with his 11 brothers, six sisters and his extended family, relatives said.

“Michael just loved his sisters and brothers, and he loved life,” Powell said. “He worshiped the ground his grandmother, and dad, and I … the ground we walked on.”

On the afternoon Michael Bloodson was killed, Powell said a group of young men shot at her son earlier in the day. He ran to his girlfriend’s nearby home and called her in distress. She told him to stay where he was until his grandmother could get there to pick him up, Powell said.

“All Michael did was leave the house and [go] four houses down to his uncle’s house,” Powell said. “The boys followed my son and they murdered him. They shot my son five times for nothing.”

Prior to the shooting, a group of young men from the neighborhood had been pressuring Michael Bloodson to join up with them. He had trouble getting to and from school without confrontation, and eventually told his grandmother that he had to give in to the pressure and pretend for his own safety, Debra Bloodson said.

“And right after he’s dead. They’re on Twitter saying that they killed him, saying that ‘he wasn’t real, he wouldn’t join, he wouldn’t accept it.’” Bloodson said. “That hurts. I think something can really be done about this. It shouldn’t have to be this way.”

Powell said she has been somewhat comforted by the large outpour of support from friends, classmates, teachers and neighbors following his death.

“He had an impact on the world,” Powell said. “It’s like once they took Michael, they took everybody.”

Nobody has been charged for the murder. Area Central detectives are investigating.

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