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Travion Lamar Burton

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A 15-year-old boy was gunned down on his driveway early Tuesday, and police are looking for the gunman who got out of a white Dodge Neon.

Travion Lamar Burton, of 2915 Renshaw Ave., is the 18th homicide victim in East St. Louis this year. Last year, the city had 25 homicides.

Investigators have not established a motive for the shooting, which was reported about 2 a.m.

Travion's mother, Requel Thomas, said she doesn't know of any reason why someone would have wanted to take her son's life.

"He kept a smile on his face," Thomas said. "He liked rap music. He ran track and even tried football," Thompson said, managing to smile a little as she thought of those memories.

"We need to stop this violence. Life is too short I want the police to do all they can to bring my son's killer to justice," she said.

Illinois State Police were called in to assist East St. Louis Police, and a technician from the Illinois State Police processed the crime scene.

"It's a tragedy to lose such a young life in our city," Police Chief Michael Baxton said. "We're committed to finding the responsible person and getting him off the street. Killing will not be tolerated in this city. We are going to do everything in our power to bring the killer to justice."

Three young men who drove the victim to the hospital were taken to the police station for questioning.

Baxton did not call them suspects, but said they were persons of interest.

A witness told police a man and an unknown female were in a white Dodge Neon. The man got out of the car and walked up to Travion and fired multiple shots, Baxton said. Travion was struck once in the chest, Baxton said.

Travion attended an alternative school in East St. Louis, Thomas said.

Funeral arrangements are pending, but Thomas said Officer Funeral Home on Missouri Avenue has Travion's body. She said his funeral will be held at Southern Mission at 2801 State St.

Sitting in a chair in the front yard of her home, with family and friends at her side, she said, "They came on his street, to his house, which is on a dead-end street, and killed him. They meant to kill him," she said.

Thomas has three other children, ages 9, 17 and 19.

With tears welling up in her eyes and while looking at a huge tree in the front yard that Thomas said was Travion's tree, she said, "Rest in peace, my baby boy. Mommy loves you."

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 239-2503.

Published in Belleville News-Democrat on July 18, 2007
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