Man who returned to Chicago to work with children is fatally shot near U. of C. – Chicago Tribune
Xavier Joy was a success story. A graduate of one of Chicago’s top high schools, Whitney Young, he went on to play football at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Joy returned to Chicago before finishing college to pursue what his family said was his passion: helping disadvantaged children succeed in school like he did. The 23-year-old started working with struggling students, teaching them math and science.
His family wonders whether his kindness may have led to his slaying near the University of Chicago campus Thursday night.
Joy had just parked his car in the 6200 block of South Ingleside Avenue, down the block from the campus, and was talking to his girlfriend on the phone as he walked to his apartment about two blocks away.
He told her he noticed someone and was going to see what the person wanted. That was the last she heard from him.
Officers found Joy around 10:10 p.m., lying in the parking lot near his car with several gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene, a stretch of Woodlawn with apartment buildings and a park with a swing set and an area designated for yoga. A red stop sign with the words “Stop the killing” was painted on a concrete planter.
His family said Joy’s phone was missing. His mother and grandmother returned to the scene after Joy’s body was taken away, saying they wanted to see where he died.
“He’s supposed to be at my house today helping plant flowers,” said his grandmother, Tytrea Baker, a minister and trauma nurse. “He’s always been a good boy. Always been smart. Always been caring.
“And for him to die like this for a phone. Really? A phone?” she asked. “This was not necessary. There’s no need for this. And you got a university no less than 50 feet away. You got kids and babies walking up this neighborhood. We should not have to live like animals. He should be able to walk home.
“No other son should have to die on this battlefield of Chicago,” she said.
Police released few details of the shooting and said no one was in custody.
Joy comes from a family that has been involved in politics and community development.
His father is Ra Joy, executive director of Change Illinois, which describes itself as a statewide coalition pushing for political and government reform. The senior Joy is also the former executive director of Arts Alliance Illinois.
His mother, Nykea Pippion-McGriff, is president of the Women’s Council of Realtors Chicago.
He has two younger brothers and two older sisters.
In his college bio, Joy said he wanted to get into politics “to give back to my community.”
Joy left Morehouse after a year to come home and work with children, Pippion-McGriff said. He worked in public schools in Chicago and Evanston. He taught children chess at after-school programs and mentored junior high students, according to his family.
“He worked for some of the worst schools in this city,” Pippion-McGriff said. “It’s not OK that they took his life.”
Joy’s father could not be reached, but in a Facebook post he said “words cannot express the devastating pain and loss we are all feeling right now.”
“Xavier was an incredibly creative, funny, and smart young man,” Ra Joy wrote. “We hope and pray for an end to the violence that has impacted our family and so many others in our city.”