FOX 32 / SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE - Jonathan Mills, a standout basketball player at North Lawndale and Southern Miss, was shot and killed on the West Side on Monday.
The 26-year-old was shot multiple times in the 4100 block of West Roosevelt Road at 1:27 p.m., according to Chicago Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
North Lawndale coach Lewis Thorpe was at the scene. “It’s him,” Thorpe said. “I’m looking at the body right now.”
Mills, the father of two daughters, played with Southern Miss in the NCAA Tournament in 2012. After college, he played basketball overseas.
“He was like a son to me,” North Lawndale assistant coach Terry Johnson said. “It’s unbelievable. Everyone is just at a loss for words, such a great, great guy.
“Thorpe and I raised him like he was our son. He would call all the time and keep in touch. Everyone is just shocked. It’s a sad day for Chicago. He was doing well, playing basketball, trying to get back overseas and play.”
Mills was planning on working out at North Lawndale all week.
“He had just called us to make sure he could get into the gym this week,” North Lawndale assistant coach Terrence Redmond said. “He had been rehabbing from an ankle injury the past year. He’s the kind of guy that plays basketball literally every day. He wanted to get back overseas and play, almost everything he does is for his daughters.”
Mills, a 2009 North Lawndale graduate, kept tight ties with the school. He helped lead the Phoenix to the 2008 Class 2A state championship and the 2009 city title.
“Jon spoke to our teams so many times about what it takes and how to grow up in this type of atmosphere,” Redmond said. “It’s tough. He loved this city and he represented Chicago throughout the United States.”
Mills recently started playing for the Chicago Fury, which is a Midwest Basketball League team. His coach, Maurice Carter, was amazed by Mills talent on the court.
“There's nobody that rebound that ball better than Jonathan Mills,” Carter said.
But it was the man he knew off the court that Carter appreciated best.
"We'd call him the big teddy bear because he was fierce on the court, but off the court he was a gentle giant. He didn't bother nobody, laughing, joking, he was playful,” Carter said.
Coach Maurice Carter passed by the scene and he didn't know the victim was his player.
"I drove by, I said man, somebody just got shot. This is ridiculous, when is this going to stop,” Carter said.
This is the second player from the Chicago Fury taken by gun violence just this year.
“Marvin Lee, that really hurt us as well, but this one right here hurt becaue that's two in one year. It's just tough, it's tough,” Carter said.
The shooting occurred on the same block where Ald. Michael Scott (24th) has an office. A spokeswoman said she heard sirens and could see crime scene tape outside, but did not have further details
She said the alderman was not in the office at the time of the shooting.