By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | Jan. 14, 2015
Darrell Tolbert was a “momma’s boy” who, earlier this year, elaborately decorated an entire wall of his mother’s home with carefully composed photos and artfully arranged notes for her birthday.
His mother never got the chance to return the favor because Tolbert was fatally shot Nov. 4 in the 600 block of North Avers Avenue in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, authorities said. He would have turned 37 about a month later, and his mother had already started the birthday preparations.
“I was preparing in my dining room for [a] celebration with his family,” his mother, Larain Tolbert, said. “This is the first birthday in 37 years that he won’t be here. I just want to celebrate with my family and let my son know that he’s with me in spirit always.”
Growing up, Darrell Tolbert enjoyed watching cartoons and playing sports, especially football. Other hobbies included music, and he enjoyed singing and rapping for fun.
Darrell Tolbert, a father of two, was a family man who always remained close to his mother and spent a lot of time at her home.
“He was really close with me. We were like twins,” his mother said. “He was just an awesome son — a momma’s boy.
“He did everything for me. Never a question like ‘why?’ or ‘what?’ Anything I asked him to do, he did it right away.”
When Darrell Tolbert wasn’t spending time with his mother, he could often be found visiting his grandmother and sister on the West Side.
Larain Tolbert said her son was killed near his sister’s home after a confrontation with a neighborhood drug dealer.
“The story I get, is that [a] young guy took it upon himself to avenge the little disagreement,” she said. “He shot my son in cold blood.”
Larain Tolbert said her family believes they are who killed her son, and she told police, but no witnesses have yet come forward.
“I have no witnesses for justice for my son,” she said. “Everybody knows what happened, but no one is talking.”
Larain Tolbert said the hardest part is knowing that her 2-year-old grandson will grow up without a father.
“I don’t think he understands, because he still looks for him,” she said. “When he comes in the house, he runs back there to where his dad used to sleep. And I just explain to him, he in heaven.”
Larain Tolbert said her own mother has cancer, but it is too risky for her visit her West Side home since her son’s murder.
“It’s hard for me because I hear so much … I hear that they’re walking around saying they have bond money and they’re armed and dangerous,” she said. “I have to get in the car, pick my mom up and get away from there because I just don’t want to go around.”
Despite the difficulties, Larain Tolbert says she is staying strong for her family, whom she hopes can find forgiveness and peace because that is what her son would have wanted.
“I’m hurt by this, but I’m strong. I’ve been in church a long time,” Larain Tolbert said. “I’ve accepted that my son is not coming back and I put my life in God’s hands that I will see him some day.”