Anthony Hayes, 27, had just entered his blue Dodge Charger and was headed to work for his 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift as a postal carrier Tuesday when his family, home in the 2800 block of W. Warren, heard gunshots- more than ten in all.
"Someone drove their car next to his and fired into the driver's side of the vehicle," said his older sister, Veronica Hayes.
Hayes was killed instantly. His parents and four siblings say they have no idea how such a thing could happen to him. "He was very very hard working, he had dreams of saving money, owning property and buying his own home in the near future," his sister said. "He loved children and was looking forward to starting a family of his own one day, getting married and having kids."
After college at Northern Illinois University, the Crane High School graduate was hired by the U.S. Postal Service in March, 2013. He had worked at a USPS branch in the 5000 block of W. Division since last year. Hayes wanted to be close to his large, extended family.
"He was in DeKalb for a while, and I kind of worried about him coming back here," said Tracy Deis, Hayes' cousin. "But you don't want to say those types of things, because you want somebody to be happy. He wanted to come back home."
Hayes dedicated himself to his family and to his work. It was typical, his relatives said, for Hayes to have set out to get into work early.
"Sometimes you see these black young men killed, and their families say they were never in trouble," Deis said. "You kind of give people the side eye. But there was never any trouble. I don't know if he was ever even kept after school."
Hayes will be missed in households he served in the 4900 block of W. Rice, where residents said he was among the most dependable of mailmen. "He would always hand me the mail on my porch, keep going and say 'have a nice day,'" said Beola Cage.
Six months ago, Hayes was assigned his own 12 block route. He was promoted from substitute carrier to regular, and he drove his own van. "I know a lot of times when people are dead, we glorify them," said USPS supervisor Janna McCauley. "But in this case, he really was a wonderful, wonderful person."
Chicago Police Area Central detectives are investigating. There are no suspects.