Too Young to Die: Michael Flournoy III

Photo courtesy of Tymeka Woods

Sixteen-year-old Michael Flournoy III was unstoppable. “There wasn’t anything that you would put in front of him that he would let defeat him,” his mother, Tymeka Woods, told msnbc.

An avid football player, he also joined the wrestling team during his freshman year at his Chicago high school simply to keep active during the off-season. But within a year, he had won several medals in various tournaments.

When his family took a trip to the beach one summer, Michael didn’t know how to swim. The next time they visited a body of water, though, he “was swimming like a fish” after teaching himself, Woods said.

Michael, whom his mother said was “ecstatic to work,” was looking forward to starting his new job at Chicago’s Navy Pier on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. He had maintained his first summer job when he was 15. Upon receiving his initial paycheck, he told his mother he would purchase all of his clothes in the future.

The high school sophomore dreamed of becoming an architect, and recently chose drafting as a concentration for his academic curriculum at Simeon Career Academy. He remained family-oriented, giving his mother a hug each night before he went to sleep.

“Because I’m a single mother, Michael really was my right hand. I used to laugh because I would tease him about being the second-in-charge,” Woods said. “He was my best friend.”

Michael was fatally shot in front of a church in the South Side of Chicago on April 5, 2014.

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Too Young to Die

Too Young to Die: Michael Flournoy III