I think I speak for all Chicagoans when I say that we are DONE hearing about kids being killed. This is especially hurtful because for many foreigners it is VERY hard to come America and when you do get here the pressures to do well for your family back home is tremendous and its a burden that we are proud to wear and that’s what keeps us working hard. Our families have so much hope in us so to hear news that your child that was sent to this country for school and sports was killed for NO FREAKING REASON.. just makes my heart hurt….
Those who knew Kabiru Adewunmi could easily imagine the 16-year-old flashing his pearl-white smile as he and five friends from his native Nigeria walked to a convenience store after celebrating a playoff win Tuesday night by the Chicago Bulls.
The Amundsen High School sophomore had only been in Chicago for less than a year after winning a spot on a competitive youth soccer league run by the Chicago Fire. His coach said the intelligent, good-natured teen with the easy smile was already catching the eye of college recruiters.
But his dreams of superstardom came to an end that night when a gunman opened fire on Adewunmi, police said, killing him as his friends watched.
Investigators said they believe that the shooting, which occurred just before 9:30 p.m. in the 800 block of East 82nd Street, may have been gang-related. Adewunmi was not involved in gangs and had only recently moved to the neighborhood, those who knew him said.
Police had not made any arrest in the shooting and hadn’t yet determined a motive.
Adewunmi was a “fantastic kid. The type of kid any classical sports organization would love to have him be a part of,” said Sole Antonijevic, who coached the teen’s 17-and-under team at the Chicago Fire Academy.
Antonijevic said he had no doubts that the talented teen could someday play professional soccer, adding that playing against other top-ranked youth teams across the country had raised the boy’s prospects.
“There (were) numerous emails from Division I colleges asking about his situation and saying they would like to recruit him and for him to be part of their programs,” Antonijevic said. “It doesn’t happen very often that you have 10 or 15 Division I schools calling me and asking for that information.”
But the teen had smaller immediate goals, said Jorie Malone, an Indiana University student teacher who taught Adewunmi’s English as a second language course. The teen hoped a high school diploma and a good ACT score would be followed by admission to an American college with a top soccer program, Malone said.
“He seemed genuinely happy, and he didn’t seem to take anything for granted,” Malone said.
Even when speaking about those nagging little everyday inconveniences — like his nearly two-hour daily commute from his new neighborhood to Amundsen — he put a positive spin on it.
With that same bright smile, Adewunmi would tell her: “No, it’s not that bad,'” she said.