Evanston family remembers fatal shooting victim Blake Ross

Ciara McCarthy, Assistant City Editor

A few months ago, Blake Ross changed his niece’s diaper for the first time. His sister, Samantha Miles, remembered it with a smile.

“He did a good job,” she said laughing.

Miles said her younger brother, 20, was a great uncle who treated her daughters like they were his own.

The Evanston native’s young life was cut short when he was fatally shot May 12 on the South Side of Chicago. In an interview with The Daily on Monday, his sister recalled a caring uncle who loved to sing and dance.

Ross’ grandmother declined to comment on his death Monday but expressed frustration over the lack of information her family has received from the Chicago Police Department.

The slain Evanston man has been connected to an ongoing city conflict that has claimed four young lives since 2005, including two last year. He also has a history of run-ins with the law: He was arrested in a 2010 undercover Evanston police operation by the Neighborhood Enforcement Team. Ross was one of 29 people arrested in connection with operating an open air drug market.

Ross was also likely involved with the May 7 shooting near the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St., according to Evanston police.

“Police have reason to believe that he was a possible intended target in the shooting at Fleetwood,” Evanston Police Cmdr. Jay Parrott said Wednesday.

Ross’ death and recent gun violence in Evanston have sparked community concern, which was voiced during a heated 5th Ward meeting last week. In response to the outbreak of incidents, police have increased their presence in the ward and will partner with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to deal with Evanston’s gangs.

Despite the difficulty Ross faced during recent years, his sister remembered a brother who loved to have fun and perform. She said Ross dreamed of performing professionally, and that he even met with a music producer two years ago.

Miles said she would most remember Ross’s love of music — especially the work of Michael Jackson.

“Any song that comes on is probably going to remind me of him,” she said.