Athena Harshaw mourns her nephew RayJohn who was killed in Chicago

Aunt tries to make sense of her nephew’s death
Athena Harshaw mourns her nephew RayJohn who was killed in Chicago
Athena Harshaw at balloon release for her nephew RayJohn Harshaw who was murdered in Chicago. (Photo credit: Eddy “Precise” Lamarre)

On Aug. 19, 14-year-old RayJohn Harshaw was shot and killed near his South Side of Chicago home. This senseless act occurred a few days before Chicago Public Schools’ first official day of classes. Harshaw was set to attend Hyde Park Academy for his freshman year of high school.

According to the Chicago Police Department, officers were called to the 8700 block of South Cregier Avenue around 6:50 pm on Saturday evening. Police found a 14-year-old boy shot in the head and chest. He was later identified as RayJohn.

RayJohn was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in critical condition. However, he died due to his injuries.

Rolling out spoke with his aunt and legal guardian, Althea Harshaw, at a balloon release in memory of RayJohn, and she shared her feelings regarding her nephew and had a message for the individual who took her his life.

Talk about why we are here today.

On the 19th, Saturday, at approximately about eight o’clock, my 14 year old nephew was robbed and murdered. They took his phone and left him for dead on the side of the house, four houses down from home. He just graduated eighth grade and was looking forward to going to his freshman year in high school.

His book bag was packed Friday in the bed with him. He slept with it in the bed so that he can go to school and play basketball. He was not a bad kid.

Athena Harshaw mourns her nephew RayJohn who was killed in Chicago
RayJohn Harshaw at his 8th grade graduation (Photo courtesy of Dr. Nakita Cloud)

What are your feelings right now at this moment? 

I’m heartbroken. I’m mad. I’m angry. Nothing is happy right now at all. We are Christians and we believe he’s with God, but that’s not a happy feeling right now because he’s supposed to live.

He was only 14 years old. So my overall feeling right now, I’m heartbroken. My stomach hurts. It’s not good to lose a loved one from gun violence.

What do you have to say to the individuals who did this to your nephew? 

What do I have to say to him? One, you didn’t have to do it. You could have just taken his phone and could have went about your business. This could be your brother. It could even be your mother, your father. Turn from your wicked ways. Turn from your wicked ways. I don’t know what reason you decided to take my nephew’s life at 14 years old.

I’m not going to wish anything bad because I’m a Christian. But it’s in your best interest to turn yourself in.

What’s the best memory you have of your nephew?

Always calling me TeeTee. Just the word TeeTee is what I’m going to remember.

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