‘Wonderful young man’: Merrillville football player dies after suburban parking lot shooting


HOMEWOOD, Ill. — A Merrillville High School football player was shot in a south suburban parking lot Friday night and later died.

At around 8:35 p.m., Homewood police responded to a call of shots fired in the 17500 block of Halsted. When officers arrived, they located 18-year-old Johnathan Brown, of Aurora, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in a parking lot near Buffalo Wild Wings.

Brown was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A second 18-year-old man was shot and self-transported himself to a hospital in Gary — where he was treated and released.

Brown played football for Merrillville High School. As a result of the shooting, additional counselors are being made available for students.

Superintendent Nick Brown released the following statement to WGN News.

“Johnathan attended Merrillville Community Schools up through middle school and then moved to Illinois. He came back to us this August. He was a valued member of our football team and a wonderful young man. It is a very sad day for the Merrillville community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jonathon’s family and friends. The high school will have additional counselors and staff available to support our students during this difficult time.”

No suspects are in custody. Anyone with information can contact police at 708-206-3420.

Last summer, the program lost another athlete close to them. On the night of June 1, former quarterback Aahric Whitehead, who graduated in 2020, was shot and killed in the 7200 block of Taft Street.

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