Peggy Dewalt was in her first-floor Austin apartment Sunday night with her family when shots rang out.
Bullets, she said, seemed to be coming from everywhere. Dewalt resides at the same apartment building in the 5000 block of West Adams where three police officers were wounded and a female resident was killed in a shooting late Sunday.
Dewalt lives in the apartment below Dorothy Williams-Johnson, 50, who was killed in a shoot-out with police Sunday night at the apartment building. Police said Johnson fired shots at officers responding to a domestic disturbance call in her apartment. Officers returned fire, killing Johnson in the process.
But all Dewalt and her young grandchildren knew was to take cover.
“We got down, got in the closets and all on the floor,” said Dewalt, who, along with her grandchildren, attended a Monday afternoon prayer vigil and press conference taking place in response to the shooting.
Austin religious leaders hosted the vigil and press conference at Mandell United Methodist Church, 5000 W. Parkway, just a few blocks away from where the shooting took place.
Leaders called for an end to the summer of gun violence.
“It is our responsibility to stop that,” said Rev. Gregory Livingston, pastor of Mandell Church. “We don’t have to wait for anybody to come in and tell us what to do. We have to stop that.”
Livingston stressed that stopping the violence involved getting illegal guns off the street. Austin this summer has seen its share of shootings and shooting deaths involving citizens.
Officials at Monday’s press conference asked for a full investigation into Sunday’s shooting. Leaders critical of alleged police misconduct also reiterated their call for an independent civilian review board to oversee police misconduct.
“We don’t know all the details, but we want a thorough investigation to make sure this woman’s life wasn’t just taken unnecessarily,” said Pastor Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church. “This also underscores why it is so important in Chicago to have a truly independent civilian review board.”
Sunday night’s shooting occurred at around 8:30. Officers responded to a domestic battery call, police news affairs said Monday.
Other individuals were in Johnson’s apartment, police officials said.
Johnson, according to police, was apparently angered by an altercation with a family member.
Johnson was waving a shotgun in a stairwell when officers arrived, police said.
Monique Bond, police news affairs director, said Monday that Johnson was fatally shot by an officer in an attempt to restrain her from firing more shots. Bond would not discuss if Johnson suffered from a mental illness.
Dewalt said she didn’t really know Johnson and that Johnson kept to her self.
“I would just see her going in and out, that’s all,” Dewalt said, adding that when she heard shots fired, she grabbed her grandchildren, pulled them to the floor and covered their bodies with hers. Others in the house ran for cover.
Dewalt said there were seven family members in her apartment that night, including five children.
“Bullets were flying through the walls, said Brandon Dewalt, Peggy Dewalt’s 13-year-old grandson. “I had to run out the door where the bullets was coming to get my little sister because I didn’t want her to get hurt.”
Peggy Dewalt said police interviewed the family after the shooting. Dewalt said she doesn’t know who was shooting or from where.
Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:05 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. Two of the officers suffered wounds to their arms and the other officer was grazed on the side of the head by a bullet, police said. The injuries were not life-threatening.
The shootings have led some community and city officials to call for tougher gun laws.
On Saturday, July 21, the city will host its annual gun turn-in drive. Individuals are asked to turn in guns with no questions asked at select churches. Individuals will receive a $100 cash debit card for each gun.
Livingston said any guns turned in at Mandell will be placed symbolically in the church’s pulpit.
“All those guns-we want to take these death weapons and put them on God’s altar because we’re about life and not death,” he said.
Individuals can turn in firearms Saturday at churches throughout the city-with no questions asked. Guns will be collected from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Individuals will receive a $100 cash debit card for each assault weapon, handgun, rifle and BB gun turned in.
The church locations are:
Mandell Church, 5000 W. Congress Pkwy.
Chicago Islamic Center, 3357 W. 63rd St.
Liberation Christian Center, 6810 S. Ashland
Greater Salem Baptist Church, 215 W. 71st St.
Greater St. John Bible Church, 1256 N. Waller
Iglesia de Dios Arca de Noe, 1859 N. Spaulding
Holy Cross Immaculate
Heart of Mary, 4541 S. Wood
People’s Church of the Harvest, 3570 W. Fifth Ave.
St. Agnes of Bohemia, 2658 S. Central Park
St. Ann, 2211 W. 18th Place
St. Rita Cascia, 6243 S. Fairfield
St. Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Place
Trinity All Nations, 9600 S. Vincennes
Truth and Deliverance Church, 5151 W. Madison
Uptown Baptist Church, 1011 W. Wilson
Wayman A.M.E. Church, 509 W. Elm