Obama's Choir Director Shot Dead

Reply Tue 25 Dec, 2007 09:35 am
Teacher found slain in his South Shore apartment
Pastor says victim 'well-loved' by all

By Robert Mitchum and Joel Hood

Tribune staff reporters

December 25, 2007
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A church choir conductor and teacher was found slain in his South Shore apartment Sunday morning, officials said.

Donald Young, 47, of the 2300 block of East 69th Street, was found unresponsive by police about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

Young suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to an autopsy report. Police are investigating.

Young was the conductor of the choir for the last 20 years at Trinity United Church of Christ, said Jeremiah Wright, the church's pastor.

He was "one of those classic, incredible good news stories," Wright said. "He wasn't a gangbanger, didn't do drugs, wasn't in trouble, no police record."

Young also taught 4th grade at Guggenheim Elementary School. He was planning on attending graduate school to be a principal in Chicago Public Schools, Wright said.

Young was also heavily involved in the church, where he had been active since he was 12, Wright said. He was a deacon and one of the founding members of the choir, which he conducted last week in its 30th anniversary performance.

"He was always so energetic and enthusiastic about the church and about music," said Rev. Stacey Edwards-Dunn, another member of the church staff.

"Donald had these long beautiful locks like Samson," Edwards-Dunn said. "When he got excited and jumped around the locks would be flying around everywhere."

Wright said Young was supposed to conduct the choir at a service Sunday morning, but "he never got to the service." Officials at the church, which Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama attends, were informed of Young's death during an early service at the church, and they made an announcement to the congregation at later services.

Pastors "prayed with the choir to let them know before the service," Wright said. "They had about 30-40 minutes of serious weeping and grieving before having to go into service.

"He called me Dad, and I called him my son," Wright said. "I was like his adopted dad."

Funeral services for Young have been set for 8 p.m. Thursday at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 59th St..
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Reply Tue 25 Dec, 2007 09:37 am
The Church address reported by the Tribune seems to be wrong.

The correct address is: 400 West 95th Street, Chicago, Illinois.
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