Hardworking Save-A-Lot employee latest female victim of gun violence

SHARE Hardworking Save-A-Lot employee latest female victim of gun violence

Sun-Times file photo

It used to be that if you stayed off the street during the late night hours, you would be safe.

Isn’t that what we told our daughters?

“Don’t be hanging out in the street all hours of the night because anything could happen.”

But those rules no longer apply.

Young women, most of them black, are getting shot in broad daylight while going about their daily routines.

On Sunday, Antoinette Brown, 23, was fatally shot at 10:38 a.m. in the 8800 block of South Burley Avenue.

“She was getting ready to celebrate her 24th birthday this Good Friday on April 19th. She was really excited. Now we are going to be burying her,” her aunt, Deverne Staples, said Monday.

Brown was a familiar face to residents in the South Chicago neighborhood.

“She was definitely an awesome person,” said Doryan Welch, the store manager at Save-A-Lot on East 83rd Street.

“She worked in two other stores in the neighborhood and was very well known….Very.”

Brown was fatally shot during the time of day when worshippers would have been heading to church to observe Palm Sunday.

The young woman was dead at the scene when someone fired shots striking her in the head and chest. She was sitting in the driver’s seat of her parked car and was the only one in the car. Witnesses found Brown’s body, but said they did not witness the shooting.

“This is a huge tragedy. She was very bright and would light up the room with her smile. That was the biggest thing. She was a really well-liked person,” Welch said.

When I reached out to Brown’s family on Monday, her mother was out making funeral arrangements.

Hundreds of condolences have poured in on social media.

“This is a major shock to everyone. The whole neighborhood has been coming in. They are just grieving. Everyone is feeling the same. It is painful,” Welch told me.

This fatal shooting is one in a string of shootings that have claimed the life of or injured young black women.

On Saturday night, another 23-year-old woman, identified as Destiny Nicholas, was fatally shot as she vacuumed her vehicle at a gas station in Chicago Lawn.

Nicholas was with a male companion at the time. He was wounded in the shooting.

Two weeks ago, two women were killed after leaving work at a Walmart in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood.

Brittani Rice, 18 and Senobia Brantley, 19, co-workers, were sitting in a vehicle with a male friend when three men jumped out of a blue sedan and opened fire.

No one is in custody for any of these shootings.

It was tragic enough that so many young black males are murdering other young black men, but now female lives are also being wiped out.

Some of us don’t want to talk about that.

I understand.

It is a lot easier to condemn abusive police officers than it is to chastise black people for participating in their own genocide.

But what do we tell our daughters now?

Brown was doing what she needed to do to get ahead in life.

“She was up for a promotion, and she worked two other jobs,” her store manager told me.

And yet, she could not survive the gun violence that stalks us.

So far this year, there have been 19 homicides of females in Cook County.

In 2013, 27 women in Cook County were homicide victims, 19 of them in Chicago.

In 2017, the number of homicide victims skyrocketed to 63 in Cook County, 52 of the homicides were in Chicago, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Last month, Dareyona Smith, 18, was killed in the 7900 block of South Paulina, when people fired shots from a passing Nissan.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger blamed a beef on social media for the violence.

Unfortunately, most of these murders are unsolved.

We don’t know if these women were targeted or if there are shooters roaming the streets using human beings for target practice.

It is frightening.

“We don’t know what happened,” Welch said.

“It’s Day Two. We just heard a lot of people saying she had nothing to do with it and it must be mistaken identity. That’s all we really heard,” he said.

So what do we tell our daughters now?

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