Former prom king, honor roll student featured in “Chicagoland” documentary found shot dead

A young man who was featured in a 2014 CNN documentary about violence in Chicago was shot and killed on the city’s South Side overnight.

In CNN’s Chicagoland, Lee McCullum Jr. was a hopeful resident who changed his life from being in a gang to becoming a student leader with a chance to attend college and being voted prom king.

Now, roughly two years later, the 22-year-old was found dead early Thursday morning on West 126th Street.

Chicago police said he was shot in the back of the head and there is no information as of yet as to what happened to him or who murdered him.

Tragic: Lee McCullum Jr., a young man featured in CNN's 2014 Chicagoland documentary about violence in Chicago, was shot and killed on the city's South Side overnight

Many people on social media have expressed their condolences about his death, as it appeared he was trying to leave behind the dangerous street culture in the city.

‘He was a great kid,’ Liz Dozier, who knew McCullum when she served as his principal at Fenger High School, told WGN.

‘I think people (watching the documentary) got to see what a great person he was and the complexity of what he faced and how he handled it with grace. …

‘He wanted to go to college and play basketball. He was a great person and I just can’t believe he’s dead.

‘It’s just unreal when you think about it. The streets have got yet another young male.’

According to CNN, the series documented how McCullum moved out of the city after high school for a brief period because he feared for his life.

Tragically, last month his girlfriend, Tiara Parks, was shot dead while getting out of a car in the city. They are pictured above together

However, he returned later and had a job, WGN reported.

McCullum had dreams of attending college, but kept having issues with gangs.

He was wounded in a drive-by shooting in 2014, and tragically, last month his girlfriend, Tiara Parks, was fatally shot while getting out of a car in the city, WGN reported.

Her father is a Cook County sheriff’s deputy.

The executive producer of the CNN documentary, Marc Levin, said that he was ‘heartbroken’ to hear about McCullum’s tragic death.

‘It’s sad how many young men in the hood have opted the culture of the NRA — the only way to deal with a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,’ Levin said.

It’s unclear if McCullum was still involved in gangs, but Chicago police noted that he was a documented gang member, CNN reported.

According to DNAinfo Chicago, McCullum was the son of a ‘former South Side gang member who lost a leg to gunfire and took a bullet in the head.

He grew up in the Roseland area of the city, which is gang territory known as ‘The Ville’.

Throughout his childhood, his father was in and out of jail and event at one point, both of his parents were in prison at the same time, DNAinfo Chicago reported.

‘Most people think their parents are supposed to get things for you. I know what it feels like not to have your parents there to take care of you,’ Lee told DNAinfo Chicago in 2014.

He grew up in the Roseland area of the city, which is gang territory known as 'The Ville'.‘Me having that experience at an early age forced me to be a man on my own.’

The CNN documentary showed how McCullum became an honor roll student who was even voted prom king.

‘People think my senior year of high school I had it made because I looked happy,’ he told DNAinfo Chicago in 2014.

‘But they don’t know the whole time we were homeless as a m———. We ain’t got nothing during whole year of high school. Nowhere to go.

‘We were living house to house. I still came to school every day, still made honor roll, still graduated.’

In the interview with DNAinfo Chicago, he shared how he had so many dreams and aspirations to ‘do something good’ and try and leave his gang-operated neighborhood.

‘Sometimes I feel like I’m only born to lose. Every time you try to skip out and do something good. The more you try to do right, the more wrong come up on you. It’s hard to manage around that,’ he said.

‘There’s a lot, a whole lot [from my past] hanging over my head. You know it’s like I’m trying to escape the past.

‘You see the door to get out, and there’s always something that prevents you from getting through that door. People don’t know the struggle. It’s like carrying a load. And it’s so heavy.’

Source: The DailyMail

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