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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Family, Friends Gather To Mourn New Dad Killed In Wicker Park Shooting: ‘He Took This Baby Girl Everywhere’

Family said Bobby Jones, Jr., who had a 1-year-old daughter, was at a Milwaukee Avenue bar shortly before he was killed last week.

Friends and family at a balloon release memorial for Bobby Jones Jr., who was fatally shot in Wicker Park.
Noah Asimow/Block Club Chicago
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WICKER PARK — Bobby Jones Jr. liked to travel, his family said. He always had a smile on his face and could make light of any bad situation. But most of all, he loved his 1-year-old daughter, Aziya. He called her “baby girl.”

“He took this baby girl everywhere, everywhere with him the last couple weeks,” his mother, Randie Binion-Morris, said on Saturday. “She had just started hollering, ‘da-da, da-da.’”

On Thursday, Jones Jr., 28, was shot and killed in Wicker Park. According to police, it happened at about 1:30 a.m., when a black SUV pulled up to a car carrying Jones Jr. and two others in the 1200 block of North Milwaukee and began firing shots. 

Bobby Jones Jr.

The car Jones Jr. was in then crashed on the 1600 block of West Congress. A 34-year-old female passenger was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition with gunshot wounds, police said. A third passenger was taken in for questioning, according to police. 

Jones had been at Emporium, a barcade on Milwaukee Avenue, before he was shot, his family said.

Police said in a preliminary report a weapon was recovered from the car Jones was in, and that no one is in custody. The incident remains under investigation.

On Saturday, dozens of family, friends, community members, religious leaders and activists gathered at Hoard Park in Grand Crossing to release balloons in honor of Jones Jr., remembering his positivity, kindness and devotion to his daughter. 

“That man was my dude,” said Bobby Richardson, who came in from Oak Forest for the balloon release. Richardson said he last saw Jones Jr. at a Memorial Day barbecue at his house. Jones Jr. had brought his daughter with him to the event. 

Credit: Noah Asimow/Block Club Chicago
Friends and family at a balloon release memorial for Bobby Jones Jr., who was fatally shot in Wicker Park.

“It looked like he really enjoyed that fatherhood thing,” Richardson said. “You could see the maturity coming in. It was like he was transitioning to another zone.”

Family and friends began filing into Hoard Park around 3 p.m., carrying with them large blue and white balloons spelling out the name “Bobby.” 

Robyn Nickson, 34, was the woman in the car with Jones when he was shot. She was released from the hospital Friday after getting treatment for gunshot wounds to her hip and shoulder, and attended the event on crutches. She said she was still in pain, but feeling better. 

Jones’s uncle, Sam Binion, set up a tent in the middle of the park, bookended with photos of Jones and his daughter, Aziya, and a sign that said “#1 Dad.” A DJ played music in the background. 

Binion, who is a prominent anti-violence advocate on the South Side, said that he, as well as others, have been working closely with police in the 3rd District to address violence. The police are holding weekly meetings with the community to discuss neighborhood crime, called “Together We Can,” while Binion’s organization, Operation Neighborhood Safety, has, among other things, stood watch at gas stations to help cut down on carjackings and other illegal activity.

“We are out here, every day, on the streets, against stuff like this. We put our lives on the line against stuff like this,” Binion said. “We need to show togetherness now.”

He said the efforts have helped, but gun violence persists everywhere — even far from home where Jones was killed.

Jones grew up in Grand Crossing, known colloquially as “Pocket Town,” and attended Revere Elementary for grade school and Hirsch Metropolitan for high school, Binion said. After pastor Alonzo Nichols led the group in prayer Saturday, family members released their balloons to the cloudless sky, watching as the letters that once spelled his name floated separately into the air. 

Credit: Noah Asimow/Block Club Chicago
Friends and family console each other at a balloon release memorial for Bobby Jones Jr., who was fatally shot in Wicker Park.

Jones’ mother laid flowers under his photograph, while Aziya and her mother, Tatiana Nesbitt, 32, held each other closely. Nesbitt then embraced a group of friends, tears streaming down her face.

“I loved my nephew,” Binion said. “And you can see the love that this young man had around him.”

Saturday was also a day of celebration — celebrating the life Jones lived and the beautiful daughter he left behind. 

After the balloon release, the music in the park got louder, and Jones’s mother, Randie, introduced members of the Jones and Binion families to one another, everyone coming together to coo over Aziya.

“I just thank God for the 28 years that he gave me, and that gave him a chance to produce this baby girl,” Binion-Morris said. She then looked around at the large crowd of family and friends surrounding her, and had a specific message for her granddaughter.

“Aziya, know that she got a lot of people, a lot of people.”

Quinn Myers contributed to this report.

Credit: Noah Asimow/Block Club Chicago
Tatiana Nesbitt holds Aziza Jones, 1, at a memorial for her father Bobby Jones Jr.

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