CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — One day after a 7-year-old girl was gunned down as her mother watched while she sold lemonade in front of her West Side home, a ministers’ group is trying to persuade people to turn over the killer.
“It’s a sad day in Chicago,” said the Rev. Ira Acree of the Leaders Network ministry, which put up the $3,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the gunman who killed Heaven Sutton, 7, while she was with her mother and other family members outside of their home in the 1700 block of North Luna Avenue in the North Austin neighborhood.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
Acree was no less indignant than Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said to the unknown killer Thursday, “How dare you?”
“She’s an innocent seven-year-old,” Acree said, saying the girl had to try to dodge bullets as if she were in Afghanistan or the Wild West of the 1800s. “It’s horrific.”
Acree said the shooting had struck a nerve, and he said he hopes that someone who knows comes forward with the information without being prompted by the cash.
“You never know what kind of baggage might be associated with other cases, but come on. What can a 7-year-old baby be doing?” he said.
Heaven had told her mother, Ashake Banks, 38, that she wanted to move out of North Austin – which the family had called home for six months – because of all the violence in the area.
She had just gotten her hair done for a trip to Disney World that had been planned for next month, and was outside with her mother as they sold lemonade, candy and snacks under a canopy set up in front of their home. Two men opened fire around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, and Heaven was struck in the chest.
“I had just called Heaven. She was sitting right next to me on my shoulder. Just laying on my shoulder,” Banks said Thursday.
Banks described the horrific sight of seeing her young daughter lying dead.
“For her to die like this – 7 years old, lying on a slab cold, her eyes just open, blood coming out her nose – I just want him to turn himself in. That’s all that I ask of him. And I’m asking for Chicago to help me,” she said.
The shooting also wounded a 19-year-old man in the ankle. That victim is recovering.
The fatal gunshot was fired by a gangbanger who was aiming at a rival who apparently had stopped to buy lemonade.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said detectives know which gangs were involved in the shooting, and said he expects them to wrap up the investigation quickly.