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Grandmother pleads with Chicago to find gunman after ‘sweet young lady’ killed

St. Sabina Pastor Michael Pfleger speaks to reporters Wednesday as Georgetta Carter cries after her granddaughter was shot to death Tuesday. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Dareyona Smith played softball at Ralph Ellison High School.

She was a “sweet young lady” who would always make sure to say hello to the lunch lady at the school.

On Tuesday, Smith was walking to a convenience store after school when she was shot in the chest and killed in a drive-by attack on a Gresham neighborhood street corner.

“Please, if anyone knows who shot my grandbaby, please turn them in,” Smith’s grandmother, Georgetta Carter, told reporters Wednesday through tears. “She was a good kid. I loved her.”

The 18-year-old high school senior was struck by gunfire about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 7900 block of South Paulina, where people fired shots from a passing Nissan, Chicago police said.

Smith later died at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. A 23-year-old man was also injured in the shooting.

Antoinette Johnson, a cafeteria worker at Ralph Ellison, said the school was not the same the day after Smith was killed.

“She was such a sweet young lady,” Johnson said Wednesday. “Every time she used to see me: ‘Hey, lunch lady.’ I went up there today, and the school was sad. It wasn’t no kids there to be fed because everybody was mourning.”

South Side Pastor Michael Pfleger, speaking to reporters on the same corner, said Smith was killed over a “childish” social media argument.

“A young lady getting ready for graduation,” Pfleger said. “A young lady who should be picking out her dress to go to prom, murdered by some punks and some cowards at this corner because of some insane childish Facebook beef back and forth, and then some turf stuff across 79th Street.”

The St. Sabina pastor said he didn’t want those who loved Smith to retaliate.

Instead, he and community activist Andrew Holmes urged those who know the gunman to come forward.

“We want the perpetrators apprehended,” Holmes said. “This young lady had a life … She had a right to walk. She had a right to come home from school.”

“Grandmama was preparing to go to school to watch her walk across the stage in a cap and gown,” Holmes said. “Now she has to watch her being lowered into the ground.”