‘Me and my baby been shot,’ he heard wife say; then phone went dead

SHARE ‘Me and my baby been shot,’ he heard wife say; then phone went dead

Eric Harrell never heard the gunshots.

As he held the phone to his ear Monday evening, he heard something worse — the panic in his wife’s voice. And then, silence.

“All I heard her say was, ‘Me and my baby been shot,’ and then the phone went dead,” Harrell recalled Tuesday morning.

And then two excruciating minutes of not knowing the fate of his wife, Nikeva Parker, and their 2-year-old son.

Tuesday, a weary-sounding Harrell was thankful that his wife and son — though injured — appeared to have survived the spray of gunfire that killed 77-year-old Odell Branch Sr., inside his home in the 200 block of West 105th Street in the Roseland neighborhood.

Branch’s 5-year-old great-grandson was also struck in the arm, police said. Family said the child was in stable condition Tuesday.

Investigators were interviewing several people of interest Tuesday, but no charges had been filed. A police source said the shooting erupted during a squabble between rival gangs. A small group on the street opened fire on Branch’s teenage grandson, and some of the rounds pierced the West 105th Street home, police said. Rival gang members then fired back at the group, striking the woman (later identified as Parker) and her son, the source said.

Harrell didn’t know any of this when he called his wife Monday evening. The couple and their son had been visiting friends and family in Roseland – the neighborhood where they’d both grown up and which they’d left three years earlier for a quieter life in Wisconsin, Harrell said. Harrell was calling his wife to have her come pick him up from his mother’s house nearby so the family could head back north.

When the phone line went dead, a panicked Harrell immediately called back. No answer. He called again. A policewoman answered his wife’s cell phone.

The woman said both Parker and couple’s son were being rushed to Roseland Community Hospital.

Harrell said he tore out of his mother’s house and rushed to the hospital.

“When I got there, the doctors were working on both of them,” Harrell said. “They wouldn’t let me see either one.”

Parker had just finished visiting the Branch family and was putting her son in her vehicle when she was shot in the hand and chest. A bullet lodged in Parker’s upper side, Harrell said. She has since been released from the hospital, Harrell said.

The couple’s son was at Advocate Christ Medical Center, where he was in stable condition in intensive care, Harrell said. A bullet hit the boy’s shoulder and punctured a lung, Harrell said.

“I’m holding up,” Harrell said. “I have to be strong for my son and my family.”

Late Tuesday, Parker told the Chicago Sun-Times, “We’re still praying and hoping for the best” for her son.

Contributing: Jordan Owen

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