Xavier Usanga, 7
Xavier was shot Monday in the backyard of his family’s home in the 3500 block of North 14th Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
His family called him “God’s child.” He was born about a month before expected and weighed less than 3 pounds — the youngest of six children, and the only boy, his mother said.
Doctors told her Xavier would need a respirator for weeks, but he started breathing on his own in five hours. They said there wouldn’t be any breastfeeding, and he was breastfeeding in 24 hours, she said.
“He was born with a smile on his face, and he died with a smile on his face,” said Dawn Usanga.
She and her husband, Ifiok Usanga, said they had mixed emotions when they learned police had made an arrest in their son’s killing.
“I know what it’s like to go to prison,” said Ifiok Usanga, 48. “I’m not cheering for him, but I feel sorry for him. I know he didn’t mean to kill my son. But they’re going to give him a lot of time. He killed a child. In a way, he’s lost his life just like my son lost his."
A uniformed officer was among those who stopped by to offer his condolences Thursday.
Ifiok Usanga said people aren’t calling the police because they don’t care.
“I don’t think black kids care about other black kids, or older black people care about black kids,” he said. “I’m so tired of hearing Black Lives Matter. Do they? … when this happens, nobody’s talking.”
Click here for video interview with Xavier's father, Ifiok Usanga.
Dawn Usanga said she feared her son would end up like the young men who had been hanging out across the street from their house in recent months, carrying guns, swearing and walking around like they owned the place.
In his short life, though, he made his parents proud.
His mother said he recently showed her how he cheated while playing a card game.
“And then he did it,” she said. “All I could say was, ‘Give me that card under your leg.’ So he did.”
And he smiled.