Family and friends, as well as those who met Lee McCollum through the CNN documentary series Chicagoland, are saddened by the news of his death.
The 22-year-old was found on Thursday with a gunshot wound to the head in the West Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Chicagoland, which ran in 2014, examined how violence challenges the lives of Chicago’s youths. McCollum, 22, was featured as someone struggling to escape gang life. Programs at Fenger Academy High School enabled him to move his life in a positive direction.
He graduated from Fenger as an honor student, and was accepted to several colleges but never enrolled, according to the Tribune.
Unfortunately, he also never escaped Chicago’s violence. Before Thursday’s fatal shooting, he was shot two times in one incident shortly after Chicagoland aired, according to the newspaper.
His father, Lee McCollum Sr., told the Tribune that his son was struggling to cope with his girlfriend’s death. On April 23, a gunman fired into a crowd of people, killing Tiara Parks. He said his son was in the group, but escaped uninjured.
“He’s with his girl now, I guess it’s meant to be,” he told the newspaper. “Man, I’m not supposed to be burying my child. My child is supposed to bury me. I had to go identify his body this morning, and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.”
Elizabeth Dozier, the former principal at Fenger, recalled crowning McCollum prom king in his senior year. She spoke with the Chicago Tribune: “He was a funny kid. He was a kind kid and he was kind of shy, which a lot of people don’t know. I’ve heard from friends of his. Everyone’s really sad. I think it’s a sad day not just for the school but for the larger community.”
The elder McCollum told the newspaper that his son leaves behind a 6-month-old daughter named Islee.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter