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A mother with a thigh wound talks about the mass shootings in Chicago on Halloween

Chrissy Sanders, 32, had just finished tutoring her 6-year-old son on Halloween night and arrived a little late for a friend’s vigil at East Garfield Park around 8:30 p.m.

As Sanders began to pay his respects to the dead woman’s friends and family, Sanders’ cousin told her, “I’m taking the kids to the car,” and took Sanders’ 6-year-old child and her two young children. to their car parked nearby on California.

Sanders said of her cousin, “I’m so glad” she took them and left the stage.

Sanders stood between two cars, talking about funeral arrangements, then started to cross the street. She heard the attackers “fire 20 to 30 shots” and someone yelling, “Get down!”

“I dove between the trucks,” Sanders said.

She did not see the car in which the attackers were, but she heard people around her shouting: “I’m shot, I’m shot… I’m lying down… I’m down!”

As a result of the adrenaline, Sanders did not realize that she had been shot, and did not even feel it. “I took off running,” she said.

A relative picked her up and took her to the hospital. Then she noticed a “hole” on her leg.

One day at Mount Sinai Hospital, scores of other victims streamed into the emergency room, and her son began to cry, “Oh, I hope my mom isn’t going to die!”

Looking back, Sanders, who was recovering in her West Side home Wednesday afternoon with a bullet still lodged in her thigh, said the situation was “terrible.”

“People have no compassion,” Sanders said of the shooters, who she believes knew there were children in the scene.

Her 6-year-old, who said he never wanted to celebrate Halloween again, told Sanders, “God spared you.”

On Wednesday morning, a small crowd gathered at the same spot where 14 people, including three children, were gunned down in a drive-by mass shooting some 36 hours earlier. Another woman who tried to flee the scene was hit by a car while crossing the street, police said.

Most of the shooting victims were adults, and minors include an 11-year-old girl, a 13-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy, according to police. The group was standing near the intersection for a scheduled vigil Monday night when two men from inside a dark SUV began shooting at the crowd before fleeing south on California Avenue.

Wednesday’s crowd of about 60 people included elected officials, representatives from nonprofits such as Breakthrough Urban Ministries and the Chicago Institute for Nonviolence, and other community leaders. They came to the corner of South California Avenue and West Polk Street to let people know that violence is not allowed in the neighborhood or anywhere else.

Several Chicago Police cars were also parked at the intersection, and officers watched the news conference from the street. The event began with a communal prayer.

Yolanda Fields is the executive director of Breakthrough, a community organization that provides violence prevention and intervention services in East Garfield Park. The nonprofit responded to the scene after the shooting.

Fields said the shooting was “abnormal” for the neighborhood and there have been “boots on the ground every hour of every day since then,” but she called for more people to take an active role in the solutions the community is working on to protect. against violence, not just mourning after something happens.

“This is not business as usual, and we refuse to act like it,” Fields said. “We don’t wash, we don’t rinse and we don’t repeat.

Fields said the 10 dead were part of the same family, and it was a relative of that family who died for whom the vigil was planned. She said the two injured children are siblings.

“I know mom is worried about her kids right now,” Fields said. “The younger one had surgery yesterday, so they’re immediately thinking about being healthy, and that’s what we’ve been talking about.”

Some family members have already been released from the hospital, Fields said, while one remains in critical condition and two are in serious condition.

Chicago Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Elena Gottreich said at a news conference that the investigation into the shooting is still ongoing and more information will be released as the Police Department deems appropriate.

A prayer service was also scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the same corner where the shooting occurred. Mayor Laurie Lightfoot, Ald. Jason Ervin, 28, whose ward covers the scene of the shooting, is expected to attend, along with other officials and community leaders.

Cornelius Parks, senior pastor at Freewill Baptist Church next door, said he and several others have “served this community for 52 years,” but they can’t do it alone.

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“We need men and women to take responsibility for their own community,” Parks said. “There’s a lot CPD can do. Outsiders can do a lot. If you don’t take a stand in your community, it could be your son, it could be your daughter.”

U.S. Representative Danny Davis speaks during a press conference on Nov. 2, 2022, near the scene of a mass shooting Monday night.

He said there was a time when he was growing up and could go to school and when the neighborhood was a real community, but he said something has happened to that feeling and now children’s lives are “at risk.”

He said the community needs to “sit down at the table” and come together again to show the strength of the area and what is needed to improve.

State Rep. Lexia Collins, D-Chicago, saw comparisons to the mass shooting at the July 4 parade in Highland Park this summer and said the black community, whether on the West Side or the South Side, wants to see the same level of response as Highland. Park did.

“We want the same emergency in our community, the same attention, and we don’t need more allies,” Collins said. “We need conspirators, people who are intentional about uplifting the black community because we’ve been ignored for so long and we’re tired of the same old cries and narratives.”

Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (G-PAC), said in a statement Wednesday that the organization is committed to making sure the gun ban momentum is channeled into “significant policy change” and thanked Lightfoot for joining a statewide call to prevent gun violence.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 48 mass shootings in Illinois, 37 of which were in Chicago. Archive of gun violence. According to G-PAC’s statement, mass shootings account for only a fraction of the deaths statewide.


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