Society

Convicted Criminal Dies Saving Mother's Life From Chicago Gang

| by Alexander Rubinstein

James Jones, 21, was a drug dealer and had spent time in prison for attempted burglary. He was out on parole when he was gunned down trying to shield his mother from the bullets.

James and his mother, Alicia Jones, 46, were on the front porch of their home in South Chicago when a man walked out of a gangway and fired in their direction, police say.

Dietra Luckett, James’ aunt, said he had just returned from buying loose cigarettes at his neighbor’s house. Someone “said something to him,” Luckett said, but he “just rolled off on his bike and didn’t think nothing of it.”

When James got back to his home, somebody had reportedly parked a van in an alley and walked up to him. He “said some more words,” Luckett said, but her nephew didn’t pay him any attention and continued to try to walk inside.

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“My sister just so happened to be coming out the front door,” Luckett said, and that’s when the man opened fire, Chicago Sun-Times reports.

James shielded her with his body. Alicia Jones knew she was shot and asked relatives to get her son off her, her sister said. His mother did not realize he was dead.

Alicia was in critical condition but survived. She had surgery at Advocate Christ Medical Center. She knows her son saved her life, but has not been told he’s dead. Luckett says her sister keeps asking, “Where’s James?”

James’ stepfather, Larry Means, was in bed shaking according to Luckett. He was saddened by James’ death and was worried about others in the home, including a 4-year-old child.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t my wife (who died),” Means said. “I’m just glad it wasn’t my grandbaby, ‘cause he was in the house too.'”

Police say the shooting was gang-related, but they haven’t said whether James was the target. The shooting of Alicia Jones makes for more than a dozen gun violence victims in Chicago from the afternoon of June 19 to the next day at noon, when the incident occurred, Chicago Tribune reports.

Firefighters hosed down the scene, but two hours after the shooting, the porch was still covered in blood and broken glass. Bystanders were disturbed by the strong scent of blood. One person left a note for James which read: “I love you.”

Alicia had four children, but only one is still alive. The other three have been killed by violence.

In 2006, her daughter Antionette Means, a valedictorian of her high school class, was killed during a robbery of the KFC where she worked. The robber emptied the cash drawer and then shot her without an apparent reason.

And in 1994, Alicia’s 4-year-old son was killed when a gang threw a Molotov cocktail into a house, trying to kill a rival gang member, prosecutors said at the time. James was only 5 months old at the time and was saved when a cousin dropped him from two stories up into the arms of a relative.

Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune

Photo Source: Illinois Department of Corrections via  Chicago Sun-Times