He was driving his daughter to school when the gunman got out of another car and opened fire at them.
The very last memory that 7-year-old Norielle has of her father, Travell Miller, was of him getting fatally shot. The little girl was on her way to school with her father when a gunman ambushed them and unleashed a series of gunshots while they were sitting inside their car.
"He was a loving father of two beautiful daughters, a brother, a son, and a beloved friend as well as an amazing bartender. He was loved by everyone who met him," said a GoFundMe page set up for the family.
At the time of the tragic incident, Travell was taking his second-grade daughter for her third day of school in Chicago.
"He was simply driving his daughter to school. He was talking to his mother [on the phone] as this guy runs up on the car," said Travell's father, Joseph Gilmore, according to Chicago Sun-Times. "His mother hears her son say, 'Dang man, what the f- - -.' She hears the commotion and then hears him say, ‘Mama, Mama, I’ve been shot.'"
In those horrifying moments, the father had bent over Norielle to shield her from the volley of bullets coming at them. "She’s traumatized. She’s devastated that she watched her father get killed," Joseph said.
"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," said another GoFundMe page.
While speaking to DailyMail.com, Tunisia Gilmore said that Travell "told Norielle to get down and he put his arms around her. She knew that he was dead because he wasn't talking anymore."
When young Norielle later spoke about the harrowing incident to her family, she said that she did not see the gunman's face "because daddy told me to get down."
After being shot four times, Travell was taken to the Mount Sinai Hospital and eventually pronounced dead.
Following the devoted father's death, his daughter was seen crying outside the family's home and saying, "Daddy was the best man in my life and now he's gone."
Travell's older daughter, Esther, is currently living with her adopted family in Minnesota but still remained close with her father over the years. She was completely devastated the moment she heard that her biological father was killed.
"I had gotten a text from my Uncle Darnell, that my dad was dead. He was shot while driving my sister, Nori, to school," 14-year-old Esther wrote in a tribute to her father. "At first I thought it was a joke, that I was being pranked – but obviously I was not. I cried for two hours. I still cry but only if he is mentioned, talked about, or if I see a picture of him."
At the moment, the grieving family has no idea why the gunman targeted Travell during the incident.
"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," the victim's twin brother, Lavell Miller, told Chicago Sun-Times.
The family also revealed that Travell had just moved to the area a few days before the incident and had no enemies. Investigations are underway to find out more details about the case.
The police have released photos of the suspected attacker and are urging the public to come forward if they have any helpful information.
"I just want people to know he was a good man. I don’t want him to be just another hashtag or photo on a T-shirt," Lavell said. "I want people to know he has a real legacy. And that was the most important thing to us — your life résumé. It sucks that bad things happen to good people. This is truly one of those situations."
Cover image source: GoFundMe