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Evanston police search for killer of honor roll student as family, friends mourn

Monday, September 24, 2012
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A candlelight vigil was held Monday night for Dajae Coleman, 14, who was shot and killed as he was walking home from a party in Evanston Saturday night.

"He was just like me in every way imaginable. He was just like me - from his humor, his personality," said Tiffany Rice, mother.

A memorial for the Evanston teenager continues to grow where he was gunned down. A basketball signed by his friends and a Miami Heat hat represent his love for the game and the team his hero LeBron James plays for. But it's an essay, written just a couple of days before Coleman's death, that's touched his grieving parents the most.

"It was his dying statement and God put those words in him for a reason because he needed us to know how much we meant to him before he left," said Rice.

The essay, dated September 20th, reads in part, "My mom pushes me to do better, she always tells me never to settle. I think the kids that are on the street not doing anything with their lives don't get the type of support they need from family."

"Even if he didn't play basketball he still would have been someone you would have known. He would have been a Dr. Coleman, a CEO Mr. Coleman, it would have been something with a label, with a tag," said Richard Coleman, father.

As school got under way at Evanston Township High School Monday, a moment of silence was observed in honor of the 14-year-old freshman, who was already well liked amongst his peers.

"I used to play basketball with him and I just had fun every time around him," said Cedric Logan, student.

"He was a really good kid. He touched a lot of people. I've never heard him do anything wrong. But I remembered seeing him play basketball every Saturday," said Erika Carter, who is dating Coleman's younger brother.

Evanston police are not releasing any details, except to say that the shooting remains an active investigation.

Evanston Township High School did not comment but released a statement on their website.

Memorial Fund set up for the family of Dajae Coleman

Evanston Township High School has set up a memorial fund to accept donations on behalf of Dajae Coleman's. All checks or money orders should be made out to ETHS District 202 and can be sent to:

Evanston Township High School
ATTN: Dajae Coleman Memorial Fund
1600 Dodge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
For more information, visit www.eths.k12.il.us/memorial_fund_dajae_coleman.

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