‘It’s turning into a normal thing’: Family mourns West Side dad killed in violent weekend

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CHICAGO — A father of four who was celebrating a new job was among 12 people killed in a violent Chicago weekend.

Kenyate Sparks, 29, was with his fiancee near Springfield Avenue and Grenshaw Street when he was fatally shot in his neck about 3:30 a.m. Sunday.

"It’s a nightmare," said fiancee Sakeem Bryd, who witnessed the shooting. "It’s an image that I don’t think will ever leave my head."

Sparks was one of 12 people fatally shot in Chicago between 3 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Monday. An additional 63 people were shot and wounded, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Byrd said Sparks was celebrating a new job when someone told the couple a fight broke out on the next street. Sparks and a few friends walked over to see who was fighting.

"I’m standing there," Byrd said. "Maybe two minutes later, I hear six or seven gunshots and I ran."

Sparks had been shot in his neck; he would later die at Stroger Hospital. Byrd said Sparks' brother took off his shirt to use it to apply pressure to the wound.

"I saw [Sparks] moving his head from side to side," Byrd said. "I also saw his body shaking."

Byrd is now faced with a dire reality: raising boys whose father is gone. Sparks' youngest son is just three years old.

"To see my daughter break down, to see the grandkids break down ... I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy," Byrd's mother, a DJ who goes by Sundance, said.

"For my entire career, I’ve had to report stories like this," Sundance said. "But it doesn’t really hit you until it’s in your front yard."

"It's turning into a normal thing," Byrd said. "And that's sad to say."

She continued: "It's just so scary here. These days you don’t even have to be in a gang or don’t have to be doing anything wrong. ... Where you call home, the block that you call home, is the wrong block."

Byrd described Sparks as an amazing dad who was "the life of the party."

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