Justin M. Murray, 19, was shot to death at 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 29 in the 1800 block of Brown Avenue, said Commander Jay Parrott of the Evanston Police Department.
Police officers responded to several calls of shots fired and discovered Justin lying on the parkway in front of 1818 Brown Ave. Evanston Fire Paramedics transported Justin to Evanston Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Justin was shot twice, and two offenders were seen peering from a nearby gangway when the shots were fired, said the Commander. Justin was in the company of several other individuals at the time he was shot, said the Commander.
Police Chief Richard Eddington told the RoundTable on Dec. 4, “The investigation continues. Our NORTAF [North Regional Major Crime Task Force] partners are here. We continue to review a lot of incoming information and review information from interviews.”
“We’re reviewing all possibilities and motives,” said the Chief. “It is uncertain at this time whether Justin was the target or whether the target was other people he was standing with at the time.”
Justin attended District 65’s schools and graduated from Evanston Township High School in 2011. He was standing in front of his grandmother’s home with a friend and a relative when he was shot. He had gone to California in August to live and go to school and was home visiting, Carolyn Murray, Justin’s mother, told the RoundTable.
Just two months earlier, on Oct. 1, in the midst of the community’s mourning the shooting death of Dajae Coleman, Ms. Murray announced at a meeting sponsored by several youth agencies that the City was planning a gun buy back program.
“Justin had a very good heart,” Ms. Murray said. “He was very giving of himself. The friends he had were very true. He tried to do the things a 19-year-old kid would do.”
Ms. Murray mentioned a candlelight vigil held in 2005 for the death of an Evanston youth. “Justin was at that vigil. It led to National Night Out [an annual observation held in August] at Church and Dodge. He didn’t know that he would be on the other side,” Ms. Murray said.
On Dec. 1, a group of about 15 persons who had attended ETHS with Ms. Murray held an anti-violence rally at Church Street and Dodge Avenue to support her in her loss. Horns blared in the intersection, as participants held up signs asking motorists to honk against violence.
Jacob Blake and Justin Blake, sons of Reverend Jacob Blake, organized the rally. “We decided that we had to do something,” Jacob Blake said. “We’re going to stop the violence.”
The gun buy-back is slated for Dec. 15. “The gun buy-back is most appropriate, because the violence is increasing.” Ms. Murray told the RoundTable. She added, “Justin said it was a good idea.”
ETHS student services staff were available throughout the school day on Dec. 3 to provide grief counseling to students and staff. “Our sympathy and thoughts are with Justin’s family,” said Superintendent Eric Witherspoon.
The Evanston Police Department asks that anyone with information regarding this homicide to call the detective bureau at 847-866-5040 or utilize Text-A-Tip by texting the word CRIMES (274637) and EPD Tip with text information.