Community members gathered Thursday for a prayer vigil near the West Side home where 11-year-old Shamiya Adams was struck by a stray bullet while attending a friend’s sleepover July 18.
Shamiya, who was hit from a bulled fired outside the West Gladys home, was not the intended target. Her funeral is Saturday July 26 at Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park.
Community activists and clergy organized Thursday “mass memorial,” meant to draw attention to Chicago’s gun violence. Friends and family of Shamiya’s also attended the morning vigil. The large group held hands and bowed their heads in prayer for Shamiya’s family. Prayers were also sent out for peace in the Middle East and for the safe return of the kidnapped girl’s in Nigeria, said Rev. Ira Acree of Austin’s Greater St. John Bible Church, who spoke at the vigil.
Participants and Chicago media gathered in a vacant lot just across the street from the West Gladys home. A march from the Delano school campus just down the street to the home took place prior the vigil. Youth held large signs featuring news articles chronicling the killings and shootings while chanting, “Save our sons, save our daughters.”
Rev. Michael Stinson gave the actual prayer with the roughly 60 people in attendance.
Acree also announced the arrest of Adams’s suspected killer, himself a youth, which was made by police Thursday. He also called on Gov. Pat Quinn to hold a special session of the General Assembly for gun reform legislation.
Tio Hardiman, former executive director of Ceasefire, also spoke at the vigil, urging the community and police try and stop gun violence before it happens.
“There’s no excuse for an 11-year-old to be shot and killed. It’s happened before over the years, don’t get me wrong, but there is no excuse. It’s unacceptable. How are these young men getting these guns? Somebody’s selling them the guns on the higher level,” Hardiman, who currently serves as executive director of Violence Interrupters, Inc., said.
Hardiman added that better community interaction is the best way to stop gun violence. The community, he said, sometimes know that a shooting is eminent based on word on the street.
“We have to be able to get to those young men before they commit the act. We can’t wait till afterward and then everyone wants to show up,” Hardiman said.
18-year-old male charged with murder
Chicago Police Thursday charged 18-year-old Tevin Lee with one count of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Shamiya Adams. The West Side resident is also charged with one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm in an occupied building. He was arraigned Thursday at the 2600 S. California court house. According to police, Lee, of the 600 block of South Lawndale, was the person who fired the gun late July 18, hitting the home where Shamiya was spending time at a friend’s sleepover. She was struck in the head and taken to Mt.Sinai Hospital in critical condition, but died shortly thereafter.