The shooting death of 7-year-old Heaven Sutton has prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to call out the violent Chicago gangs responsible for the second grader's murder.
Heaven’s death is the latest of 253 murders so far this year, and his city had a 38 percent increase in homicides.
Asked about this shooting at an economic development event, the mayor said:
“This is not about crime. This is about values. Take your gang conflict away from a 7-year-old. Who raised you? You have a 7-year-old selling lemonade. You’re a member of a gang coming to get lemonade and another gang member is driving by. Where were you raised and who raised you?”
His voice rising and pointing his finger, he continued sternly, “Stay away from the kids!”
Emanuel’s emotional plea comes as he landed a $1 million partnership with CeaseFire, an organization that relies on ex-gang members to mediate conflicts and prevent violence. The controversial deal will put 40 “interrupters," as the group calls them, on the streets in two of the city’s most violent neighborhoods.
Heaven was shot and killed Wednesday night from a gunshot wound to the back. She was selling candy at a stand in front of her house when someone down the street opened fire. A stray bullet struck her as she ran to the safety of her home.
Ashake Banks, Heaven’s mother, told ABC News:
“She loved to sing, dance and crack jokes. And she always smiled…There was already shooting in the neighborhood,” she said. “So I figured that if I set up a big tent and a candy store, it would keep the kids in the middle of the block instead of going down to the [corners] where all the activity was.”
Banks believes the shooter was a gang member targeting someone else in the crowd near the stand. She had hoped the gangs would stay away from a place meant for kids, saying, “but they really didn’t even care…. They killed my baby.”
Ashake Banks welcomes any kind of help “to stop the shooting.”
We must ALL help stop the shooting.