After Abnerd Joseph was fatally shot by another resident during a disturbance in their Loop high-rise building, family of the assistant school principal said Friday they are “left with questions and looking for closure.”
“We can’t make sense of it,” said his sister Jeanna Joseph, who last spoke to her brother Wednesday, the day before the shooting. “We don’t really know what’s going on. … We have questions and we don’t have answers to those questions.”
The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. on the 48th floor of the building at 60 E. Monroe St. as Abnerd Joseph was “wildly” knocking on residents’ doors, attempting to enter apartments and “yelling incoherently,” according to a police report.
When the doorman and four tenants went to check, he allegedly struck the doorman several times. A tenant then tried to calm him down and was also hit and fell down, the report said.
Another tenant warned Joseph that he was armed and told him to stop hitting people. The police report said Joseph “turned and charged” at the tenant, who opened fire, hitting him several times.
Joseph, 32, was shot in the chest, abdomen, flank, an armpit and ring finger, according to the report. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:11 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy Friday determined he died of multiple gunshot wounds and his death was ruled a homicide, the office said.
The tenant who fired the shots called 911 and waited for police to arrive, according to the report. That man, who has a concealed-carry license, was placed into police custody, officials said.
A property manager at the building where the shooting occurred sent out a message about the “violent altercation” to notify residents of a police presence at the building shortly after the shooting.
The message said there was no ongoing threat to residents’ safety.
A witness contacted by the Sun-Times declined to comment, and residents and neighbors declined to comment at the building Friday night.
Joseph was the assistant principal of culture at Intrinsic School, 79 W. Monroe St., according to the police report. The school website said he joined Intrinsic’s downtown campus in the summer of 2022.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by the loss of Mr. Joseph who served our school as an empathetic leader, role model and inspiration for our students,” a spokesperson with Intrinsic said in a statement. “We are communicating this tragedy to our community and providing any support needed to both students and his colleagues during this difficult time.”
Classes at the school were dismissed early Friday.
As assistant principal of culture, his main areas of focus were school climate, student discipline, schoolwide transitions and procedures and student safety, according to the site. He had five years of experience as an assistant principal and came to Intrinsic from KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools.
Previously, he taught algebra and life sciences for five years. He had a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida State University and had been working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership at Georgia State University.
“He was a brother to so many people,” Jeanna told the Sun-Times. “He touched so many kids’ lives.”
Joseph had three brothers and three sisters and was born in New Jersey. He grew up in a home the family has held onto for nearly three decades in Tampa Bay, Florida.
He moved to Tallahassee, Florida, for college before moving to Atlanta to teach and become an assistant principal for nine years. He moved to Chicago in 2022 after receiving a promotion, his sister said.
Jeanna described her brother as a “health guru” who loved to work out and someone “so smart he could solve a Rubik’s Cube behind his back.”
“He taught me how to tie my shoe, how to ride a bike, how to swim. … He taught me everything I know,” Jeanna said.
He was an avid traveler who visited Paris, Brazil and Colombia, among other places, but always knew to “come home to his family,” she said
Jeanna said her brother’s smile stood out most about him.
“He was so handsome, that smile would brighten up a room,” she said.
In her phone call with her brother Wednesday, he told her he’d be making the trip from Chicago to Lake Wales, Florida for her wedding next April.
“‘I’ll be there, baby sis,’” she said he told her. He planned to sing “When I Fall In Love” by Nat King Cole as she walked down the aisle.