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Apr 15, 2024  |  
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https://chicago.suntimes.com/authors/michael-obrien


NextImg:Crane athlete Darrion Williams, 16, killed in shooting

Darrion Williams turned 16 last week. Just a sophomore at Crane Medical Prep High School on the Near West Side, he was already a key contributor on the varsity basketball and football teams.

Williams, nicknamed “Cheese” by his friends, was shot and killed Friday night less than a mile from his school.

About 11 p.m., Williams was on a sidewalk in the 2100 block of West Randolph Street when someone wearing dark clothing approached him and opened fire, according to Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Williams suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he later died, police said.

His stepmother, Audrey Williams, said police told the family on Saturday that they had someone in custody in connection with the shooting.

“We don’t have any idea what happened,” Williams said. “There were so many stories that we don’t know what is true.”

Williams played wide receiver and linebacker for the Cougars this past football season.

“He just loved all sports,” Audrey Williams said. “Sports and playing his Playstation.”

According to his stepmother, Williams picked up the “Cheese” nickname because of the way he smiled: “It was like the way a rat smiled when he was looking at cheese.”

His family has suffered from gun violence in the past, according to his stepmother, who said she was shot in 2016 when she was 27 weeks pregnant, causing her to lose the baby.

“We’ve been through a lot,” Williams said. “[Darrion] was a good kid. He was kind of shy and timid. He wasn’t loud or rowdy.”

The family is holding a candlelight vigil for Williams on Sunday at Crane’s football field. 

Chicago Public Schools released the following statement: “All of us at Chicago Public Schools are saddened to learn of the loss of another young life and we extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and community members impacted by this tragedy.”