CHICAGO — Family members said Xavier Lofton, of Bellwood, Illinois, sorted mail on the graveyard shift so that he could chase his dreams during the day. Good with his hands, the postal worker, who had an associate degree in business, filled the daytime hours fixing cars, hoisting drywall and, in recent years, followed his father into real estate. The pair worked to rehab and flip homes.
“He was a hard worker. He had a lot of little side hustles,” his dad, Herman, told the Tribune. “He was a jack-of-all-trades. If he didn’t know how to do it, he was on YouTube.”
On Friday, Lofton and two others were killed in a shooting on the city’s West Side.
Lofton’s slaying cut short a new passion: acting. Of late, he had taken a turn as an actor in an African American-themed web series and short films that have thousands of online subscribers.
Though untrained, those who worked with him said he had an innate showmanship and enthusiasm with the ability to switch between comedy and drama. “He had natural talent,” said Reginald Irving, a West Side filmmaker who wrote and produced the web series with his company, ND Flix.
“He was a joy to work with. He was always happy. He never had a bad attitude or questioned. He was very dedicated … it was whatever we needed him to do,” Irving recalled.
Lofton’s burgeoning acting career “was something more. It was something he talked to me about on the regular basis, about how we were going to take over the world and how he believed in this and enjoyed doing it.”
Lofton’s death came amid a chaotic scene late Friday following the shooting, which may have been connected to a nearby traffic crash that left a 50-year-old man dead.
Lofton and a 29-year-old female friend were riding south in the 200 block of South Cicero Avenue around 11:20 p.m. when a gunman inside a beige SUV opened fire, according to police.
Lofton died from his injuries and his passenger was critically wounded. Also struck was a 37-year-old man driving north in a Cadillac SRX, police said. The Cadillac fatally struck Willie Williams, of West Garfield Park, about a quarter-mile north of the shooting scene, authorities said. The Cook County medical examiner’s office had not yet identified the 37-year-old motorist.
Williams’ death was due to multiple injuries of the collision, according to autopsy results, and his death was classified as a traffic accident and not a homicide, police said. No arrests had been made.
Herman Lofton said he and Lofton’s mother, Tameika Labon, struggled to comprehend the death of someone with so many talents who avoided scrapes with the law or suspicious characters.
A North Lawndale College Prep graduate and the oldest of five children, Lofton leaves behind a daughter who turns 8 on Tuesday.
“I can’t even fathom the thought. That’s what’s leaving me clueless. I don’t know him to have any problems and we talked about everything,” said the elder Lofton, who called his eldest son his best friend.
Irving said his bond with Lofton strengthened after learning that the men were cousins. Ever the handyman, he said Lofton remodeled their production company’s new office space. He said he believed their fans will miss what mark Lofton’s talent could have made.
“I can’t make sense of this. I don’t question God,” Irving said. “But this is one time where I’m actually questioning him. Xavier didn’t bother nobody. We can’t make sense of this stuff.”
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