Mother of Cornell Park shooting victim speaks out

Curtis Nowells
Curtis Nowells

Staff Writer

A 33-year-old man was killed last Friday, Dec. 2, in Cornell Park, 5473 S. Cornell Ave.

Curtis Nowells was walking in the park with his girlfriend when a black male offender wearing a mask approached him from behind and fired multiple shots before fleeing on foot northbound on Cornell Avenue to a nearby car and driving away, said Chicago Police.

According to police, Curtis Nowells sustained a gunshot wound to the head and multiple to the back. No one is in custody, and police are still investigating.

On the day of the shooting, there was false information about Curtis Nowells given by, Jeffery McCarroll, Nowells’ stepfather according to his mother, Monica Nowells.

McCarroll described Nowells as the father of six children who worked as a handyman doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.

Monica Nowells said McCarroll had not been “in [Curtis Nowells’] life for about 20 years” and gave an inaccurate description of him.

Monica Nowells said Curtis Nowells was the father of seven children (five boys and two girls). His children range in age from 3 weeks to 14-years-old. She said for the past three years he worked as a barber and cut hair from his home that he shared with her on the 1900 Block of East 73rd Street.

Monica Nowells said that her son was a loving person and a good child.

“He loved his family, his children…he had an outgoing personality,” She said. “People liked him, and he was not a bad a person.”

Curtis Nowells was born on January 10, 1983, in Chicago. He was the oldest of four children. Monica Nowells said their family lived in Hyde Park for over 30 years. Curtis Nowells attended Holy Angels Catholic School, 750 E. 40th St., from kindergarten to eighth grade and Thornwood High School in South Holland, Ill. for high school; he received his GED in 2001.

When Curtis Nowells was shot, at about 2:50 p.m., Monica Nowells said she found out about the shooting from his girlfriend who was with him when he was shot. Curtis Nowells and his girlfriend hung out at Cornell Park frequently, according to Monica Nowells. She questioned the amount of time it took for emergency vehicles to arrive on the scene.

“I was on the phone for a long time [with his girlfriend] before the ambulance came,” Monica Nowells said. “Why did it take so long to come?”

Chicago Fire Department (CFD) response time was within mandated protocol of 6 minutes, said Larry Langford, spokesman for the CFD.

Langford said that on Dec. 2, at 2:55 p.m. a call was received at the 911 center reporting a man shot at or near 5474 Hyde Park Blvd.  A CFD ambulance and ALS Paramedic Truck were dispatched within seconds of the 911 call. He said the ambulance arrived on the scene at 2:59 p.m. and attended to the patient who exhibited no vital signs. The unidentified man was shot multiple times and had a traumatic head wound.  The ambulance crew then placed an electronic monitor on the subject and confirmed that life had been lost . The findings were relayed to the doctors at the University of Chicago Hospital and treatment was terminated in the field with a pronouncement  of death at 3:04 p.m.

The area was declared a crime scene and the patient was left on the scene per protocol.

As police conducted the investigation at the park on the day of the shooting, Monica Nowells stated that his body lay there for over five hours before he was transported to the morgue. During that time the family was not allowed to see him.

Monica Nowells said the last time she spoke to her son was the day before he died. She said she is devastated by her son’s death and is now fearful for the safety of her children and grandchildren. She said since the shooting neither she nor her children have been to work.

“Chicago is horrible,” Monica Nowells said. “I’m just scared. I’m scared for his brother… I am scared for him to go out and leave the house and my daughter. It’s crazy…this gun violence.”

Monica Nowells said, “You never want to outlive your children, but a lot of us parents are outliving our children.”

Monica Nowells said she wants the person responsible for her son’s death caught.

“I don’t want another mother to suffer what I am going through, I don’t want any more bloodshed,” Monica Nowells said. “I want justice to be served that’s it.”

Services will he held for Curtis Nowells on Saturday, Dec. 17, at St. Andrews Temple in Englewood, 6722 S. Hermitage Ave., from 10 a.m. to noon.