CHICAGO – Chicago Tech Academy High School’s director of finance and operations, Jason Goodfriend, was exactly what his last name suggests.
“Everyone is at a loss for words,” according to a GoFundMe page set up Monday in his honor. “Jay has touched the lives of many people, and will forever be remembered as a genuine, honest and sincere gentleman.
“He has made memorable impressions to not only those who have known him forever, but those who he had only briefly spoken to,” it continued. “Another innocent soul is taken way too soon.”
Goodfriend, 31, was killed in a vehicle near Chicago Tech on Saturday – “about a block away from 12th District Police Station on the Near West Side,” DNAinfo reports.
Police found him slumped over in the running vehicle with a shot to the head around 9:50 a.m.
Jay, as he was known by friends and family, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after officers arrived and the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide after an autopsy the same day, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Goodfriend’s death was the only gun death in Chicago over the weekend, though that was little consolation to his mother Karen Goodfriend, who posted to Facebook about her only child’s death in the “gun frenzy in Chicago.”
“People will be relieved to think, ‘oh, a light weekend. Only one person died.’ But that person was my son,” she wrote, according to DNAinfo. “My heart. My life.”
Goodfriend lived in Humboldt Park and was set to start graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago this week. He was an “incredible” drummer who was “intelligent, funny and talented,” Karen Goodfriend wrote.
Goodfriend attended Wheaton Warrenville South High School in Wheaton, where he participated in marching band, drum line, jazz band and show choir band. He also played in ensembles at UIC, where he earned his undergraduate degree.
“Music was hugely important to him,” his mother wrote on Facebook.
Friends who commented described him as a mentor and role model who “influenced a generation of drummers,” DNAinfo reports.
“Every day of the past thirty one years of my life has been dedicated to taking care of, thinking about, loving, guiding, advising, and yes, a little yelling at, my son,” Karen Goodfriend wrote in the emotional Facebook post.
“I don’t know who else to be anymore,” she wrote. “Jay, I love you so, so much.”
Goodfriend’s murder follows a similar incident in June outside of McNair Elementary School, where Chicago Public Schools employee Denzel Thornton was killed with a gunshot to the head in the middle of the day.
Thornton, 25, was conducting his regular rounds at the school as a CPS compliance specialist when he was gunned down, DNAinfo reports.