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‘It just hurts so bad’: Mother of 5 shot dead in possible dispute with ex-boyfriend in Austin

Melinda Anderson was shot early Monday at a small gathering she was reluctant to attend, according to her twin sister.

Melinda Anderson
Melinda Anderson
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Melinda Anderson wanted to go home and take care of her children Sunday night, but was persuaded to go out to a West Side gathering where she was shot and killed, allegedly by an ex-boyfriend, her family says.

Hours later, a hospital called Anderson’s twin sister with the awful news.

“It just hurts so bad. It’s replaying in my head like a dream I can’t wake up from,” Melissa Anderson told the Sun-Times.

Melinda Anderson, 28, was shot in her head about 1 a.m. Monday in the 5600 block of West Madison Street in the Austin neighborhood, officials said.

Someone drove her to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park and yelled to staff, “She’s been shot! She’s been shot!” according to Chicago police.

The driver said the shooting happened at a gathering near Madison Street and Central Avenue, but the driver left before officers arrived, police said.

Anderson was transferred to Stroger Hospital and pronounced dead about 3:30 p.m. the next day, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Melinda Anderson worked as a security officer and provided for her five children, who range from 7 months to 12 years old, her sister said.

Melinda called her sister just hours before the shooting.

“She said she wanted to go home to her kids,” Melissa Anderson said. “My sister never spent the night outside ... She just wanted to go, but (the gunman) got mad and shot my sister.”

A police spokeswoman said the gunman may have been an ex-boyfriend. The Sun-Times is not naming him because he has not been charged.

Melinda Anderson was “a very warm, sweet-hearted person,” and was going to turn 29 later this month, her sister said. “Melinda would help anybody; her door was always open.”

She was also a hard worker and was loved by many, as can be seen in an outpouring of condolences on Facebook.

“I saw her every day. She would work, go home and take care of her kids,” Melissa Anderson said. “My sister was trying to provide for them. That’s why it hurts. She was my best friend — my sister.”

Jennifer Walker, who was close to Melinda and called her “my oldest daughter,” says the news of her death is “devastating.”

“I’ve known her for 12 years. From the day I met her, she was compassionate, loving and fun to be around,” she said.

Her last words to Anderson were a warning about the company she kept.

“I told her, ‘You have so much. But being with him — that’s no good for you at all.’ I told her I don’t want you to be a statistic.”

Anderson planned to visit Walker, who she called “Ma Jenny,” next weekend for Mother’s Day.

“She said, ‘I’ve got a gift for you, and I’ll see you Saturday.’ But when I got the news Monday, I’ve been torn up ever since,” Walker said. “Earth has lost a beautiful soul.”

Detectives have been unable to locate witnesses of the shooting, a police spokeswoman said Thursday.

No arrests have been reported.

Read more on crime, and track the city’s homicides.