Mother mourns loss of teenage son
October 12, 2017
Lakeisha Brandon said she knew something was wrong when her son, Aaron Brandon, didn’t pick up the phone the night of his death.
“I get off work at about seven in the evening, and he’d always call me to let me know what he wanted for dinner,” she said. “That day, he didn’t call me. It alarmed me after FaceTiming and texting him with no response. I instantly knew something was wrong. If we miss a call, we immediately call each other back.”
Aaron, a senior, was shot and killed on Aug. 29 in Hazel Crest in front of an abandoned home. He was killed by an off-duty Chicago police officer during what police have called an attempted robbery.
Aaron and another suspect were attempting to rob the officer, whose name has not been given to the public, when the officer pulled his weapon and shot Aaron, according to Hazel Crest Police Chief Mitchell Davis.
Davis said the police officer is back at work on desk duty and will not be charged for Aaron’s death.
“From what we know, it appeared to be a Craigslist exchange; the officer thought he was buying a MacBook,” Davis said.
If buying or selling an item, Davis suggests making the exchange at a nearby police station.
Police are still looking for a second suspect who they believe was on the scene but got away. Davis said the suspect will likely be charged with attempted robbery and possibly felony murder.
The police were called by neighbors and the off-duty Chicago police officer. The neighbors reported hearing gunshots and the police officer called after realizing he had shot Aaron.
On Sept. 2, senior Chase Falkner put together a candle lighting for Aaron. Many of his friends made posters, bought custom balloons and T-shirts and lit candles to honor their friend.
“The school didn’t put together anything for all of his friends to grieve. I thought it would be nice for all of us from junior high to come together for him,” Falkner said.
Aaron, who went by “Loso” to his friends and family, spent his free time rapping and training with a personal football coach in hopes of playing for Michigan State University next year, according to Brandon.
Aaron was the youngest of Lakeisha’s three children and one of the closest people to her.
“Aaron was a very bubbly person. He cracked a lot of jokes, his friends loved him, he was a Mama’s boy, very personable, and he loved his family,” Lakeisha said. “He never left for school without telling me he loved me.”
Aaron isn’t her first loss. Three of her close family members were shot and killed last summer. Aaron’s father and two half-sisters were killed in a homicide inside of their home, one was 10 years old and the other only 1-year-old.
Not only does it affect his mother on a daily basis, but it affected Aaron as well, she said.
“When July came around, he had a really hard time. It marked a year and he’d get emotional a lot,” Lakeisha said.
Senior Juliana Sanfrantello said she met Aaron freshmen year and he was her first love.
“He was the one person that I knew would be in my life forever, together or not,” Sanfrantello said. “Everything is weird to me now. I’ll never understand why this had to happen.”