Jemison Great-Grandson Victim of Fatal Shooting

Post a Comment » Written on March 16th, 2009     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (March 16, 2009) – The 14-year-old great-grandson of retired Evangelical Covenant Church Pastor Willie Jemison will be buried this coming Friday, the innocent victim of suspected gang violence who was shot and killed as he returned with family members from a high school basketball game last Friday night.

Visitation will be observed beginning at 11 a.m. at Oakdale Covenant Church, 9440 S. Vincennes Avenue, with a funeral service beginning at noon.

Gregory Robinson was in the back seat of the family automobile when shooting erupted as the vehicle neared the family’s Morgan Park home. The car was being driven by Robinson’s cousin, Brittani Orange, whose 10-month-old daughter and four-year-old goddaughter were also in the back seat with Robinson.

“They just got to shooting,” Brittani told a Chicago Tribune reporter. “They were standing on the bike trail in the dark just waiting for someone to come.” The Tribune report notes the 19-year-old driver attempted to speed off and escape the gunfire. It is when she pulled up to her family’s house a few feet away that she looked back and saw her cousin slumped over on top of the children in what family members believe was Robinson’s attempt to shield them.

Robinson died from a single gunshot wound to the back. Authorities recovered nearly 40 shell casings from what appear to be an AK-47 assault rifle and a .40-caliber handgun, a police source told the Tribune. Chicago police said it doesn’t appear Robinson or anyone in the car was a target.

Robinson, a freshman at Simeon Career Academy, is the 28th Chicago Public Schools student slain this school year.

“This is so stupid,” said Pastor Jemison when reached at his home this morning. “It’s a wonder that he (the shooter) didn’t kill everyone in the car.” Jemison, who retired in 2000 as pastor of Oakdale Covenant, and his wife have six children, 24 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.

“We’ve lived in this city for 40 years,” Jemison says in recalling his acceptance of a call to serve the Oakdale congregation in 1970. “We have not had a problem in all of those 40 years – not until now. Nobody is immune . . . but something radical must be done to end this violence. It is not right to let kids keep killing kids with these guns – high-powered automatic weapons in the hands of children.”

“Words cannot adequately express our sense of sorrow and grief – and outrage – at this senseless and tragic loss of life,” says ECC President Gary Walter. “Our hearts go out to Pastor Jemison and his entire family, and we will hold them in our prayers as they face the hours and days ahead.” Walter encouraged the entire Covenant family to join in a continuing time of prayer on behalf of the family.

“Pastor Jemison has played a key role in helping the Covenant embrace and pursue ethnic diversity as a denomination,” says ECC Executive Vice President Donn Engebretson. Pastor Jemison assumed leadership of the Covenant’s largest African-American congregation in 1970. “He is a pioneer, and we grieve his loss.”

Friends and family describe Robinson as a nice, quiet teenager who is the oldest brother to three younger sisters. “He was just an outgoing, tall, slender, lovable kid,” said Robinson’s aunt, Rhonda Orange-Coenic. “You couldn’t help but love him.”

Robinson grew up in south suburban Hazel Crest, but moved in with his grandmother in Chicago to attend Simeon and be closer to his 18-year-old cousin Brandon Orange, a senior on the school’s basketball team. Brandon was in the car’s front seat when the shooting occurred.

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