'Chicagoland' star shot and killed in Roseland
FOX 32 NEWS - A young man featured in a documentary about Chicago gang violence became one of the city’s latest victims.
Jason Barrett, 24, was gunned down in Roseland on Monday.
A small memorial now marks the spot on 113th Place where Barrett, known as J-Rock to friends, was shot and killed.
The troubled young man, whose story was part of CNN’s "Chicagoland," was someone his former Fenger High School Principal, Liz Dozier, believed in. She is seen in the program visiting Barrett in prison, and trying to help him get out. Another woman who believed in him, and tried for years to help in rise about his surroundings and past, said news of Barrett’s murder left her with a heavy heart.
“He could've gone on to do great things, I believe, I always believed that. I think that Liz believed that too and what we saw in him we tried to get him to see to the level we did,” said Diane Latiker, founder of Kids Off the Block in Roseland.
But sadly, Latiker said, Barrett never did. She said he started to come to Kids Off the Block when he was 12. But the streets pulled him away.
"About three weeks ago I ran into him and we hugged and I said 'Jason you know I'm here' and he said 'I know Miss Diane,'" Latiker said, recalling the last time she saw Barrett.
After learning of Barrett's murder, on Tuesday Dozier tweeted, "Jason died yesterday. He was shot 14 times… My God what have we become."
Jimmie Smith said he and Barrett grew up together.
“Just lost another real close friend. I'm 23, he 24, we've got 20 years in, 20 years gone now,” Smith said. “All we got is memories, it's memories all we got now.”
For Latiker, the memories are of what might have been.
“Jason is like so many other young people who have seen violence, maybe been involved in it, and it becomes the world, it becomes their world,” Latiker said.
So, why is it so hard for young men like him to escape their surroundings?
“Because our neighborhoods are sometimes like jail cells, they are enclosed,” Latiker said. “And what's inside is not good.”
Police continue to search for information on Barrett’s killer.