At the sound of gunfire, the grandson of a 72-year-old Chicago man rushed into the gangway outside their home around 3:30 a.m. Saturday to discover his grandfather had been shot dead.
William Strickland was awaiting a Pace bus to take him to his weekly dialysis treatment when two men approached him in the gangway near the 400-block of East 95th Street on the city's Far South Side, reports ABC Chicago.
According to the Sun-Times, the pair robbed the elderly man before shooting him multiple times. Strickland died of his injuries in the gangway.
While police are investigating an apparent robbery, some in Strickland's family think their loved one was actually a target.
"The man was going to dialysis," Srickland's brother-in-law Raymond Prichett told ABC. "He goes every Saturday morning. I think whoever did this was watching him."
Strickland's daughter, Lesley, agreed, telling CBS Chicago.
“I do not feel as though it was a robbery. I feel as though it was up close and personal because they knew the exact time he was coming out the house, and he’s been making this dialysis trip for four years, same time.”
The younger Strickland said the assailants made off with a plastic bag that contained a pillow for her father’s dialysis treatment, and his wallet; his jewelry and cell phone, however, were still on his person when he was discovered.
The Pace driver who reportedly witnessed the incident and called 911 had an unusual connection to Strickland: while he had picked the victim up for his standing Saturday kidney dialysis appointments for some years, the two previously worked together in the steel mills of the Acme Steel Company in Riverdale.
According to neighbors, Strickland had lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years and called their slain neighbor "friendly and willing to lend a helping hand."
Police say the victim, who had just celebrated his 72nd birthday last Sunday according to CBS, is the second homicide of the month. Chicago homicides in February were recently reported to be at their lowest levels in years.
Area detectives are investigation but have no one in custody yet.