Brinity Johnson has come to a grim acceptance about the murder of her mom, who was one of two anti-violence volunteers killed in a drive-by shooting in Gresham a year ago:
No one will be held accountable.
That frustration is in large part because she’s spoken with Chicago Police detectives just once since the double slaying near 75th and Stewart, and that conversation was mainly to confirm basic information on Andrea Stoudemire’s background.
“I try not to think about it. It just makes me feel like ...” Johnson, her voice trailing off, said in an interview this past week. “I mean, they’re not going to do anything about it, right? So why make myself try to feel something?”
Instead, Johnson, 21, has put her energies into taking over parenting duties of her two younger brothers, who are 11 and 16. She has gotten an apartment in Englewood and is working full-time at a nursing home to provide for them.
Her transformation into a single parent came quite suddenly.
On July 26, 2019, she was flooded with Facebook messages from friends and family asking if her mother was just shot in a drive-by attack, based on what they saw in news accounts.
“I had to actually see it for me to believe it, and when I saw her [at the hospital], that’s when it really hit me,” Johnson said. “It’s still surreal.”
The clips revealed that Stoudemire, 35, and Chantell Grant, a 26-year-old mother of four, were shot near the base of operations for Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings, the anti-violence group they volunteered for. Bullets even left holes in the sign for the group. Their murders made national news.
At the time, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi assured “this is still very much under investigation, but at this time, we have no evidence that we can point to that suggests the women were the intended targets. We also have no evidence to the contrary.”
But despite the attention, in the year since no arrests have been made. The investigation into the moms’ killing remains open, said police spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli.
Grant’s family could not be reached for comment.
While she’s frustrated by the lack of progress in the case, Johnson is now trying to “be there for [her brothers] as much as possible.” They are both at critical ages, she said, and sometimes “act out,” which she believes is related to their mother’s death.
When the coronavirus shut schools down in March, it was a struggle for her to get the boys adjusted to remote learning.
“My mom was the one that helped them mostly with homework, so for me it was difficult at first,” Johnson said. “I put them on this schedule that they had to get up at a certain time to do things for school, which helped out a lot. It got way easier after that.”
With all the focus on helping her siblings, she often doesn’t have the time to reflect herself, Johnson admits.
She plans on going back to school in the near future for nursing.
Throughout the ordeal, the memory of her late mother has kept her motivated. At the time of Stoudemire’s death, friend Charvondra Andrews described her “as very outgoing. Very spontaneous. Loved to smile.”
Johnson said her mom’s ability to “light up a room with her personality” is something she hopes to emulate someday.
For now, she is reminded of her constantly, like when she sees her mom’s favorite color.
“I always smile when I see anything green,” she said.