CHICAGO - Brandon Bradberry is described by his family as a role model, youth mentor, athlete and avid climber.
In fact, 38-year-old Bradberry has been gym manager at Block 37’s First Ascent since it opened in 2018.
He’s trained thousands of climbers and runs their Reach program, which offers free climbing classes to underprivileged youth.
"Everyone’s heartbroken that it happened. Everyone is showing up with support. Brandon cultivated a community here. He’s created a sense of belonging and support for so many people," said co-founder Dan Bartz.
Bradberry was shot outside Leak and Sons funeral home at 78th and Cottage Grove on Aug. 16. He was attending his own nephew's funeral, who was also a gunshot victim.
Even with police on the scene, gunfire erupted as loved ones left the service heading to their cars.
Police say the gunman was inside a vehicle before approaching the area and firing several rounds.
Detectives found more than 40 shell casings littered in the street.
The father of two was struck three times in the head, neck and face.
"All of a sudden, we heard all this ruckus and people were shooting. We were jumping under pews, it was very traumatizing. My sister was like, ‘they shot my brother,’ thankfully they were able to save him," said Bradberry's younger sister Erika.
Bradberry has undergone various surgeries and will soon begin intense rehabilitation.
The family has created a GoFundMe account to assist with medical bills and accommodations at home.
First Ascent will also host two fundraisers in September in his honor.