Neighbor: Slain Bernadette Glomski, 58, did yard work outside Logan Square home

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | May 4, 2015

A 58-year-old woman found strangled in her Logan Square home appeared happy and upbeat just days earlier, according to a neighbor.

A friend found 58-year-old Bernadette Glomski dead in her home in the 2500 block of West Moffat Street on April 15, authorities said. An autopsy later concluded she died of asphyxia by strangulation and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“It’s heartbreaking. You don’t want to hear that happen to anyone … especially like 50 feet from your own bed,” said upstairs neighbor Keithon Gipson. “Whatever the situation, nobody deserves that.”

Authorities have released few details about the killing, and only released the woman’s name in hopes of locating a family member.

Despite the slaying, Gipson says he he still feels safe in the neighborhood.

Gipson, 38, has lived in the apartment directly above Glomski’s for about three years. He said Glomski lived there “for sometime” before he moved in.

Gipson said Glomski, and the man she lived with, were often outside doing yard work and odd jobs for the landlord.

She was an interesting person. Not exactly the friendliest, I mean, she didn’t do anything wrong to anyone, just sometimes you’d try to avoid her. She was that type of character,” Gipson said.

Glomski appeared in good spirits, and days before her death Gipson said she was hanging out with friends and playing music in the backyard.

She looked happy. The color in her face looked real good,” he said. “And to have her life end that way is unacceptable and terrible.”

Gipson said he spoke briefly with police the night Glomski was found dead, but says detectives have not contacted anyone in the building since then.

I’m not a policeman, but it seems like they have somebody that they’re thinking about. Because they didn’t come back and rehashed anything with us,” he said.

Nobody has been charged for the killing. Area North detectives are investigating.

Family: Slain football coach Alexander Villafane kept kids off the street

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | Feb. 17, 2015

Alexander Villafane named his youth football program after his second-favorite NFL team, the New England Patriots, family said.

The 39-year-old football coach did not get to see the Patriots win Super Bowl XLIXthis month because he was fatally shot in the head while working on a vehicle less than a week before the game, family said.

Villafane was replacing a stolen catalytic converter when he was wounded during a Jan. 25 drive-by shooting in the 3500 block of West 24th Street, family said.

Villafane, of the 2300 block of South St. Louis Avenue, died two days later at Mount Sinai Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

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“I’m at a complete loss … I would never imagine, in a million years, out of all the things that could happen, something like this.” said Villafane’s stepdaughter, Jennessa Martinez.

She said her stepfather dedicated his life to keeping children on the football field and off the streets.

Villafane started the Humboldt Park football team with his brother about 10 years ago as a way to help at-risk youths, family said. He coached more than 300 children, many of whom went on to play high school or college football, Martinez said.

“It’s hard to see that the very thing he was fighting against was the thing that took his life,” she said.

Relatives described the father of four as a “family man” who was a “role model” to many.

“He just taught me so much as I grew up in life,” said Villafane’s godson Angel Del Valle. “He didn’t give up on me. He worked with me, he worked with many of the other kids that were on the bench to better themselves so they can become better people.”

The family believes Villafane’s shooting might have been a case mistaken identity.

Witnesses only told relatives that a gunman inside a passing minivan shot Villafane, the family said during a press conference calling for more police cameras in the area.

Nobody has been charged for the murder.

Family members are asking anyone with information about Alexander Villafane’s murder contact Area Central detectives.

Family: Slain Rayvon Little enjoyed basketball, reading

By Emily Gray Brosious | Originally published at Homicide Watch Chicago | Feb. 5, 2015

Rayvon Little left his Minnesota home as a teenager to come live with his grandmother in Englewood, family said.

Christine Little said her grandson was a quiet young man who often spent his time at home reading or watching Christian television with her.

Christine Little said she was close to her grandson, and when she recently encouraged him to go visit his family in Minnesota he requested she accompany him.

Rayvon Little, 20, never got the chance to return to Minnesota because he was fatally shot Nov. 1, 2014, in the 6700 block of South Morgan Street.

Authorities said Little was outside when somebody in a passing group opened fire. Little was shot multiple times and died about an hour later at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Another man, 19, was shot in the leg but survived.

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Rayvon Little, who attended a local alternative high school, enjoyed riding his bicycle through the neighborhood and playing basketball and football at local parks, his grandmother said.

At home, Rayvon Little would “read for hours” and wanted to become a teacher, his grandmother said.

Family friend Kendall Richardson said Rayvon Little wanted to earn his GEDbecause “he saw what was going on around in the streets.”

He wanted to better himself, but I guess it was too little too late,” said Richardson, who added “it can happen to anybody [in this neighborhood]”.

Christine Little said her grandson was out when the gunfire erupted, but she never thought it was him who was shot.

Immediately after the shooting, Christine Little said she went to the front windows, but she was unable to get a good look because the windows were being replaced and were covered with plastic.

I didn’t think it was my baby,” Christine Little said. “I went to the window and peeped underneath [the plastic] and saw a guy running.”

Christine Little said nobody knocked on her door to tell her it was her grandson who was killed until after police left.

I was shocked that this happened, especially with him,” Davis said. “He was so quiet and low key. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to do something that terrible to him.”

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

Mother: ‘I have no witnesses for justice for my son’

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.

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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.”

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.

Continue reading “Family: Slain teen Michael Bloodson enjoyed arts, technology”