CHICAGO - A fairytale turned into a nightmare: that's how the death of a beloved father on the South Side is being described by his mother.
Kevin Thunderbird, a 2005 graduate and star baseball player for Simeon Academy, was gunned down late Monday night in Hyde Park by someone in a passing vehicle, according to police. It happened just days after Thunderbird saw his three sons — all star athletes at Kenwood Academy — win the city baseball championship and graduate from high school.
"Simeon was his heart," said his mother, Diane Thunderbird. "It was his heart. I can just see him now. It's like I have an angel in the outfield now."
Hundreds of mourners released balloons from the Simeon Academy baseball field Thursday night, where the 36-year-old Thunderbird was a star center fielder.
"All the coaches just loved him," said his mother. "I hope that they catch [his killer.] I pray that they catch him because it would take a complete devil to do something like this to a man like that."
Thunderbird's athletic talent went straight to his three sons, all of whom starred on the Kenwood Academy baseball team, winning the Public League title just days before their father's death.
"The last two weeks we made him so proud," said his oldest son, Kevin, Jr. "His three baby boys won the city championship, graduated high school, all went to prom together."
"Dad, your memory will always live on," said his other son, K'vion. "We're going to do big things for you. Our last name, forever, will be something great."
His two oldest sons are now bound for college on scholarships: Kevin, Jr. for baseball to Russ College in Mississippi, and K'vion to Arizona State on a football scholarship.
"He finally got to see them win the championship," said his mother, Diane. "He got to see them walk across the stage, it was like a fairy tale the last few weeks and for it to turn into such a nightmare here, is overwhelming."
Thunderbird's younger son couldn't be at Thursday's vigil. He's in Florida playing baseball as part of a scouting tournament.
No arrests have been made in Thunderbird's death.