A single father has died after he was shot four times while protecting his seven-year-old daughter when they were ambushed while sitting in their car in Chicago.
Travell Miller, 33, was taking his daughter Norielle to school around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday when they were ambushed with gunfire and he ‘shielded’ her from the attack, his step-mother Tunesia Gilmore wrote in a GoFundMe.
‘He was a single dad raising his baby girl, who he loved so much,’ Tunesia Gilmore wrote. ‘Unfortunately she witnessed his death and being the great father that he was, he used his body as a shield to protect her from the attack.’
Miller’s step-mother told DailyMail.com in an interview that he was on the phone with his mother, Aquantas Gilmore, when he was shot four times. Norielle, who is in second grade, was on her way to her third day of classes.
Aquantas overheard her son tell his daughter to get down when he saw the man approaching his car with a gun, Tunisia said.
Travell Miller, 33, was taking his daughter to school around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday when they were ambushed with gunfire and he ‘shielded’ her from the attack
The suspect (pictured) fled the scene and was last seen driving eastbound on Chicago Avenue, and has not yet been found
‘[Miller] told Norielle to get down and he put his arms around her. She knew that he was dead because he wasn’t talking any more,’ Tunisia Gilmore said.
Norielle told her family that she didn’t see the man ‘because daddy told me to get down,’ Tunesia told DailyMail.com.
Joseph Gilmore, Miller’s father, added to the Chicago Sun-Times that among his son’s final words were: ‘Mama, Mama, I’ve been shot.’
Doctors told the family that the location of Miller’s wounds show he had tried to protect Norielle, Tunesia recounted.
Norielle, wearing a Minnie Mouse face mask, mourned her father in a brief appearance outside their home with her grandparents and other family members, WGN reported.
‘Daddy was the best man in my life and now he’s gone,’ she said, crying.
Miller’s vehicle, pictured, was seen on a sidewalk after the shooting
Damage made by the hail of bullets can be seen noted with evidence markers
The Chicago Police Department has released photos of the shooting suspect
The Chicago Police Department said the suspect was driving a Pontiac Grand Prix, pictured
Miller had a second daughter named Esther, who was born while he was in college, but whom was adopted by a family in Minnesota, family members told DailyMail.com.
Esther, 14, has released a statement mourning the loss of her biological father, with whom she has stayed close with through the years, and urged witnesses to come forward with information for police.
‘I had gotten a text from my Uncle Darnell, that my dad was dead. He was shot while driving my sister, Nori, to school. At first I thought it was a joke, that I was being pranked – but obviously I was not. I cried for two hours,’ she wrote.
‘I still cry but only if he is mentioned, talked about or if I see a picture of him.’
Miller was on the phone with his mother, Aquantas Gilmore, when he was shot four times
Miller’s mother, Aquantus Gilmore, holds her hands over her chest as she sobs while speaking about the death of her son
Travell Miller’s daughter Norielle, who was in the car with him, is seen mourning his loss in a statement outside the family’s home
Travell Miller is pictured with Norielle (left) and his second daughter Esther, (right) now 14 years old, who released a blistering letter addressing her father’s killer
She said her father will not be able to see her grow and mature into an adult.
‘My dad can’t watch me grow, can’t watch me get my first job, can’t watch me go to college, can’t watch me get a boyfriend and get married, can’t walk me down the aisle or meet his grandchildren,’ Esther wrote.
‘Now I would like to talk to the murderer himself. Hello. I hope you know that caught your face on surveillance. Do you think you can get away with this?’
Esther wrote to the alleged murderer that she will be in the courtroom to watch him ‘get tried and sentences to life in prison.’
‘You took my dad away from me and my sister, someone who was caring, loving, kind and wise. Someone who was a great father to two living kids, born seven years apart, and brought them together to meet each other,’ Esther wrote.
The teen noted that the shooting ‘severely traumatized’ her sister, warning that ‘karma will be coming.’
‘My dad watched super hero movies, whether it be DC or Marvel,’ she wrote. ‘My dad has watched super heroes, now he has become and and has died being heroic.’
Esther, 14, has released an open letter addressing her father’s killer and calling her dad a ‘super hero’ for saving her sister
Tunesia wrote in a Facebook post: ‘YOUNG MAN I WANT YOU TO KNOW, YOU HAVE CAUSED SO MUCH PAIN. I PRAY THAT YOU OR SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WOULD CONSIDER THAT FOR ONE MOMENT. WHAT IF IT WAS YOU LYING IN THE MORGUE RIGHT NOW!!!!’
Miller’s step-mother Tunesia Gilmore, left, and his father Joseph Gilmore, right, speak about Miller’s death
The Chicago Police Department said in a news release that the suspect, who has not yet been found, drove up next to Miller’s vehicle and got out of his Pontiac Grand Prix before firing at the single father.
The suspect then fled the scene and was last seen driving eastbound on Chicago Avenue before turning southbound on Sacramento Avenue.
Cops said that the car had no front or back plates, but described it as having possible damage to the driver’s side rear quarter panel.
Miller was taken by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead, cops said.
Investigators are working to determine if road rage led to the shooting, and family members said Miller had no enemies or ties to any gangs.
‘He wasn’t part of any gang life, criminal life. He wasn’t a troubled man, didn’t have any enemies. He was a brother, a father, a son. He was a partner,’ said Lavell Miller, his twin brother.
Lavell Miller told the Chicago Sun-Times that he and his brother ‘did everything together’ and had even moved to Miami, Florida to pursue bartending – managing an Instagram account dedicated to the craft called The Bartwinders.
The twins decided to return to Chicago amid the COVID-19 pandemic when bartending jobs became difficult to find in Miami, Lavell Miller said.
‘It’s been a financial struggle because of the pandemic. We now finally saw a way to navigate some success through this. We had plans. I was looking forward to us being a team for a very long time,’ he said.
Tunesia has posted photos of surveillance photos showing the suspect who allegedly shot and killed her son.
She wrote: ‘YOUNG MAN I WANT YOU TO KNOW, YOU HAVE CAUSED SO MUCH PAIN. I PRAY THAT YOU OR SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY WOULD CONSIDER THAT FOR ONE MOMENT. WHAT IF IT WAS YOU LYING IN THE MORGUE RIGHT NOW!!!!’
In her interview with DailyMail.com, Tunesia said her step-son was ‘very loving’ and ‘had a smile that could light up a room.’
‘You don’t know very many young man who would take on the task of raising a child by themselves. He has done everything that he needed to do to raise her,’ she said. ‘They were best buddies, best friends and she is just torn to pieces. It’s horrible.’