A budding Chicago prep basketball player died when his older brother accidentally fired their father's semi-automatic handgun twice at his head, according to multiple reports.
Michael Whitney, 19, grabbed his security guard father's gun from a drawer, removed the clip and taunted his 16-year-old brother Malcolm on Friday, the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times reported. When Malcolm reached for the weapon, Michael allegedly shot two of the eight bullets left in the chamber, and one struck his little brother in the head.
A rising junior at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy, Malcolm Whitney reportedly owned a 3.8 GPA and emerged as a star for the Thunderbirds over the past year. The 5-foot-10 guard recorded back-to-back 30-point games during a summer league and earned an invite to USC's elite basketball camp, his coach told the Chicago Tribune.
"He would have been my star player this year," Hyde Park Academy basketball coach Antonne Samuels told the Tribune. Similarly, Samuels expressed to the Sun-Times, "He was my team to be honest with you. He was playing so well."
"If I you were a parent and had a kid, he's the kind of kid you'd want them to become," HPA assistant coach Sean Connor told ABC 7 News. "At 16 years old, I think everybody in the past 24 hours has learned what a positive affect he had on so many lives for such a young man. He was humble, confident and goal-oriented."
After allegedly shooting his younger brother, Michael Whitney moved his brother's body to the living room couch in their home on the South Side of Chicago, and then shot out a bathroom window in an attempt to cover up his involvement, according to the reports.
Michael reportedly told police someone shot through the window, killing his brother as he prepared for basketball practice, but then the Phoenix Military Academy graduate and Southern Illinois University freshman came clean upon further questioning.
The prosecution detailed the shooting during a hearing that set bail at $1 million for Michael Whitney, whose record includes four prior burglary convictions. He now faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.
"This tragedy would not have occurred if a convicted felon had not touched a firearm," Circuit Court Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. said during the hearing, according to reports.
Malcolm Whitney's death is a sad reminder of the 1984 murder of Ben Wilson, the nation's No. 1 recruit at the time for Simeon Career Academy on the South Side of Chicago. Wilson's story was featured last year on ESPN's 30 for 30 film "Benji."