Homicide Scene

Near the scene of a shooting in the 12200 block of South Lafayette Avenue. (Peter Nickeas / Chicago Tribune / September 22, 2012)

An 18-year-old man who friends said was walking a few blocks home after leaving a party because an argument broke out did not make it to his front door on the Far South Side Saturday morning.

He was shot about to death about 2 a.m. less than half-a-block from his home -- and presumably from safety.

"Not even alley to alley. Two minutes, Joe," said Stephen Spencer, 21, estimating the short amount of time it would have taken him to get to his house. "That's it. Thirty seconds."

A second man, 21, was shot in the foot as he walked with the man, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said. The two were among seven people shot between Friday evening and Saturday morning. None of the five other shootings were fatal, police said.

Police cars had raced to the West Pullman intersection about 4 a.m. Saturday where two hours earlier the 18-year-old man, identified as Thaddeus Tucker by the Cook County medical examiner's office, had been killed. It had been almost two hours since the teen was found dead, bleeding from his head, on a sidewalk in front of a house on 122nd Street just west of Lafayette Street.

Sherry Watson, 46, let out a muted groan and turned her head as officers lifted the young man in a body bag and set him into the back of a dimly-lit wagon. Others muttered and looked away.

"This was a child that had some sense," said Watson, who said the dead man deferred opportunities to drink or smoke with friends on a regular basis. The man was identified by multiple people at the scene as a June graduate of Fenger High School.

" 'I don't play the game, call me when you get back,' " she recalled him saying.

"It's crazy all over," Brandie Clark, 34, said. "It's all over, don't even matter where. Chicago has gotten crazy. It's ludicrous. It's out of control."

A crowd had earlier gathered on the southeast corner of the intersection, in a spot that offered the clearest line of sight to the man's body.

Three marked police cars approached from the east and sped to the yellow tape as a woman, who appeared in her 20s, was being escorted away by another woman who appeared about the same age.

A young man in a blue shirt sat on the ground inside the tape, wearing handcuffs and surrounded by four officers.

The woman was yelling at police and taking steps backward even as her acquaintance held her torso and walked her away from the scene.

"So what you got a badge, I can get a badge too and we can get it cracking," she yelled from down the block.

Others at the scene spoke openly of revenge, and reiterated that they were not concerned that police officers were within earshot. People out here know what happened, a young man said, and someone was certain to find him and his house.

"How many bodies (do) you think (are going) to drop? How many bodies (do) you think (are going) to drop?" one young man asked a police commander at the scene.

After extra police arrived, a group of about ten officers walked past an ambulance toward a crowd that followed the woman as her acquaintance escorted her east away from the crime scene. The ambulance came to take the young man in handcuffs away.

At one point, 14 police cars – marked and unmarked, SUVs and sedans, and a wagon – sat parked around the scene and in the blocks surrounding it.

A quiet group of about two dozen waited at the crime scene while crime lab officers took photos and examined the young man's body. At least six evidence markers sat next to the body in a small area no more than two feet wide, indicating the casings were ejected from a gun held by a shooter whose weapon hand was steady. The dead man was shot numerous times in the head, police said.

Four women, one whose son was friends with the dead 18-year-old, spoke disapprovingly of the violence in the city and the seemingly small slights that can get someone shot.