In the bustling streets of Chicago Heights, Cook County, Illinois, a tragic tale unfolds—a story that brings to light the complexities of gang-related violence and the lasting impact it leaves on communities. At the center of this narrative is a young soul known as Tooka, whose real name was Shondale Gregory. On that fateful day, January 12, 2011, at the tender age of 15, Tooka met an untimely demise, becoming yet another casualty of the never-ending feud between rival gangs—the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples.
The Birth and Early Life of Tooka
Tooka, born on August 10, 1995, in the heart of Chicago Heights, was a young African American boy with dreams and aspirations that would forever remain unfulfilled. Little is known about his family background, save for the fact that he was the son of Dominique Boyd. As for his siblings and his father’s identity, the pages of history remain silent, shrouding his early life in mystery.
A Fateful Encounter
The chilling events of that January day unfolded at a Chicago bus stop, where Tooka was waiting innocently. Little did he know that this would be the last chapter of his life. A car pulled up to the bus stop and a passenger disembarked, engaging in a brief exchange with Tooka. What followed was a flurry of gunfire and the young boy was struck multiple times, succumbing to his injuries on the spot.
The Rivalry that Claimed a Life
Tooka’s death was not an isolated incident but rather a grim manifestation of the long-standing rivalry between the Black Disciples and the Gangster Disciples, two notorious gangs that have plagued Chicago Heights for decades. It is believed that Tooka fell victim to the vengeance-seeking members of the Black Disciples, who sought retribution for the murder of one of their own, Eddrick “TY” Walker, in 2009.
A Street Name Transformed
In the aftermath of his tragic death, Tooka’s name took on an unexpected transformation in the streets. Initially, “Tooka got smoked” was the phrase used to describe his brutal murder, but over time, it evolved to signify the consumption of potent marijuana. This shift in meaning found it’s way into the lyrics of hip-hop artists, with Chief Keef being one of the first to incorporate “Tooka” into his songs, such as “John Madden” and “3Hunna.” The term was later adopted by other artists like King Von and Lil Durk, although some may not be aware of it’s origin.
A Mother’s Grief
Tooka’s mother, Dominique Boyd, continues to bear the weight of her son’s loss. In a heartfelt interview with Say Cheese in 2022, Boyd expressed her anguish over the disrespect shown to her son in death by hip-hop artists who never knew him personally. She passionately demanded to know why they persist in invoking his name in their songs. Emphasizing that Tooka had no connection to the world of hip-hop.
A Tragic Legacy
Tragically, Tooka’s story does not end with his death. Reports suggest that his gang, the Gangster Disciples, went on to take the life of another young individual, Odee Perry, a member of the rival Black Disciples gang. It is believed that Gakirah Barnes, a close friend of Tooka, was responsible for Perry’s murder. Barnes, a notorious figure in the world of gang violence, was herself tragically gunned down in 2014 at the age of 17. In a chilling twist of fate, the Chicago police later revealed that King Von, another figure tied to this grim narrative, was responsible for Barnes’ murder. Von met a similar fate in 2020, succumbing to multiple gunshot wounds at the age of 26.
Shondale Gregory, or Tooka, was a young African American from Chicago Heights. Gang-related violence killed him in January 2011, making him famous. Later, hip-hop artists used his name in street slang, especially to refer to powerful marijuana.
Tooka was just 15 years old at the time of his death. He was born on August 10, 1995 and tragically lost his life on January 12, 2011.
A car stopped at a Chicago bus stop and a passenger spoke to Tooka briefly. This encounter escalated and Tooka was shot numerous times and killed.
Tooka’s death was linked to the Black Disciples and Gangster Disciples’ feud. His death is believed to have been reprisal for the murder of Eddrick “TY” Walker, another gang member.
Tooka’s murder was called “Tooka got smoked” after his terrible demise. This word eventually came to mean strong marijuana. Since Chief Keef, hip-hop musicians have used “Tooka” in their rhymes, linking it to violence and drugs.
Dominique Boyd, Tooka’s mother, has spoken out against hip-hop artists for using her son’s name in their songs. She emphasizes that Tooka had no connection to the world of hip-hop and calls for respect for her son’s memory.
The story of Tooka, or Shondale Gregory, is a poignant reminder of the devastating consequences of gang-related violence. It is a narrative that highlights the loss of promising young lives and the enduring pain inflicted upon their loved ones. While Tooka’s name may have taken on various meanings in the streets and in music. It is essential to remember the person behind the name—a young boy who, like so many others, became a statistic in a city plagued by gang conflicts.
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