Diaz's friend, Robert Diaz, felt a bullet strike his hand. He looked at his friend, and the two ran.
But moments later, Robert Diaz heard his friend calling him back. He returned to see Jovany Diaz moving his hand and moaning. Jovany Diaz had been shot in the chest and died at Mount Sinai Hospital at 10:46 p.m.
Friends and relatives gathered in front of the West Humboldt Park home in the 4300 block of West Hirsch Street on Tuesday to remember the Amundsen High School freshman. Well-wishers decorated the front fence with birthday balloons, stuffed animals, candles and poster boards filled with farewell messages.
At the center of the memorial was the basketball the lanky teenager always carried, according to his sister, Maritza Rodriguez.
"His drug was sports," said Rodriguez, 25, Diaz's oldest sibling. "The streets for him was for basketball."
Throughout the day, the group played Diaz's favorite song, "Rex on Rex," and talked about the "Cat Daddy," a dance he frequently performed. Smart and smiling, artistic and friendly, he was popular in school and in the neighborhood, friends said.
"He was full of life," said Robert Diaz, 19. "Why him? He made friends with everybody."
"I guess he just got caught up being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said Jesus Diaz, Jovany Diaz's father.
The police did not have a suspect in custody or a motive as of Tuesday evening. Officials had only a vague description of the gunman and of a gray or silver vehicle leaving the scene. The victim had no known gang affiliation, authorities said.
As Diaz's friends and family continued to congregate at the site, a 25-year-old man was wounded in the legs in another shooting on the same block Tuesday afternoon, police said.
That shooting happened around 2:30 p.m., police Officer Phil Armstrong said. The victim was taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center in good condition, Armstrong said. No one was in custody for the second shooting, police said.
"We need blue and whites to come through here every 20 minutes," said Douglas Bobo, who lives near the scene of both shootings. "The police have been out here all day, and someone still got shot. It's ridiculous."
Diaz also played baseball, and his school baseball coach Darren Harlston said he was a good kid who was not involved in gangs. He would have finished his freshman year Friday.
Diaz was a "happy-go-lucky kid" who worked hard and dedicated himself to sports, Harlston said.
"He was so smart, and he was always smiling," said 22-year-old Ashley Bruno, who watched him grow up.
Diaz loved to draw and spray-paint, Rodriguez said. The family showed his work off Tuesday.
"I can't believe it's him," said Liz Diaz, a friend. "His mind was set on goals. … They took the wrong person."
Tribune reporters Will Lee and Dawn Rhodes contributed.