Ryan Jones, the 23-year-old Maywood native who was murdered on May 2 with his newborn daughter. | Facebook/Ryan Jones
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Ryan Jones, the 23-year-old Maywood native who was shot to death during an apparent drive-by shooting that happened in broad daylight last Tuesday on the 400 block of South 21st Avenue, was a father before he was virtually anything else say some of his relatives and friends.
“He was all about his daughter,” said Terrence Powell, the founder of Young Hope, an organization dedicated to providing local young people with alternatives to violence.
Powell was among at least 50 people who marched from 1001 Madison Street to the Maywood police station at 125 S. 5th Ave. on May 10 — a demonstration for which Jones’s seemingly senseless murder was a major catalyst.
“Ryan never posted a status that wasn’t about his daughter,” said Powell, who is also a coach for the Proviso Township Bills football organization. Powell said that Jones was a coach for the Bellwood Spartans football organization.
“We’re all from Maywood and went to Proviso East High School together,” said Dominique Banks, another friend of Jones’s. “Ryan was a cool guy. He was very educated, he was humble, down to earth. When we heard it was him who got killed, it shocked everybody.”
Jones’s sister-in-law, Tambra Pendleton, said that the Proviso East graduate was an anchor in his family and community — someone who took his vows to his wife and 2-year-old daughter very seriously.
“There are a lot of black men in Chicago that are affected by this violence and sometimes we’re under the assumption that they’re all affiliated with gangs or something like that,” Pendleton said.
“Ryan wasn’t affiliated with anything. He coached a football team. He went to Benedictine University on a full football scholarship. He was even able to get my sister a scholarship to attend that school. He was a genuine, loving, dedicated, humble guy,” she said. “He was always willing to help and was a very present, happy, joyful soul. It’s a loss to our family and community.”
Pendleton said that his family assumes Jones was mistaken for someone else. So far, it isn’t known whether or not police have identified any suspects or motives. Maywood police couldn’t be reached for comment on late Wednesday night.
Jones’s daughter, Pendleton said, celebrated her second birthday on the Sunday following her father’s death. Pendleton and others who were interviewed said that Jones had just returned from the barbershop moments before his death.
“His barber posted on Facebook that when Ryan left the salon, he was going to take his daughter some medicine and right after that [trip] he got murdered,” said Janae Powell, a member of Young Hope.
In a tragic fit of irony, Jones’s best friend, DaShamone “Spuddy” McCarty, 19, was fatally shot in the head in May 2013 in Maywood. McCarty had been home from college and was in a car with friends when unidentified assailants pulled up in a vehicle and started spraying bullets.
“They were brothers,” said Pendleton, referencing the relationship between McCarty and Jones, who she said was often the “peacemaker” whenever an argument or conflict would come up between anyone in Jones’s presence.
“Ryan never had any run-ins with anyone,” she said. “He always wanted to mend things. That it happened right in front of my mother’s house is even more sad because it’s like the constant memory we have of him, always coming over there. Now, we have the constant memory of him not being able to come over anymore.”
Terrance Powell, who said that the Proviso Bills football organization plans to march again in Maywood on Saturday after their practice ends at around 2 p.m., said that Jones’s last Facebook post pretty much summed up Young Hope’s mission.
“When he got killed, I went to his Facebook page and the last status he posted was, ‘Today I woke up so motivated,’” Powell recalled. “It hit me like, he woke up motivated and that’s how he ended his day? But that’s what we about. No matter what’s going on, you got to be motivated. United we stand, divided we fall. That’s what we all about right now.”
Pendleton said that Jones’s funeral services will take place on Saturday, May 13, 10 am. until 11 a.m., and 11 a.m. until 12 p.m., at Rock of Ages Baptist Church, 1309 Madison St. VFP