ROGERS PARK — On a recent evening, Macksantino Webb walked from his mom’s home in Rogers Park to his uncle Zollie Webb’s home in Evanston — a move which irked his uncle.
Zollie did not like the 20-year-old Macksantino to be walking around late at night, and he told his nephew as much. But Macksantino had come by to pick up his new work boots for a security job he was to start, so Zollie relinquished his irritation.
“I would make a fuss” when his nephew would come by late at night, Zollie said. “The reason why I pushed him so hard is that his dad was incarcerated. Going to prom, things like that, I didn’t want him to miss.”
Macksantino was fatally shot while standing on the Howard Street Red Line platform Tuesday, a brazen daytime shooting that left the Webb family devastated.
As a teenager, Macksantino and his younger brother would live with Zollie, who has taken in generations of young men in his family. The brothers left to escape violence in Englewood that had caused the death of their cousin and others close to them, the family said in a 2016 profile in the Chicago Sun-Times.
With the help of his uncle, Macksantino successfully navigated his teenage years in Chicago. He went to his prom in a tuxedo his uncle rented for him. He has a two-month old daughter and had just lined up a new job.
But his life was cut short Tuesday, in a shooting that stemmed from an “interpersonal conflict,” Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said in an update to constituents. Two people were being questioned in the shooting, but police said Thursday one person was released without charges.
Michael Jackson, 18, was charged with one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, Chicago Police said Thursday. He was not charged with murder in the fatal shooting. Jackson is due in court on Tuesday.
Police would not provide further information about what led to the shooting.
Macksantino lived off-and-on with his uncle until recently, when his mother moved up to Rogers Park. But Zollie still played a central role in his life, helping Macksantino fix up his car and get ready for a new job.
“He started going back [to his mom’s house],” Zollie said. “But every time I looked up, I saw him around.”
Macksantino was described as a typical young man who like joking with friends and hanging out with family, Zollie said. Zollie saw to it that his nephew got his driver’s license, and he quickly developed an interest in cars.
Taking in young men and children is nothing new to Zollie, who said he’s cared for about 53 kids in his life. Zollie was happy to see Macksantino escape his teenage years unscathed and enter adulthood in a good place — but he also knows the reality of life for young men in Chicago.
“All my adult life has been devoted to my family, to fostering these children,” Zollie said. “There’s absolutely no safe neighborhood. There’s no place that’s truly safe.”
Zollie is the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Evanston. He is planning to give the eulogy at Macksantino’s funeral, where he will make a plea to young men and city officials alike to stop this tragic violence.
“I miss him,” Zollie said. “It’s time we stop having to walk behind the caskets of black boys.”
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