Hundreds of pink, blue, yellow and white balloons swayed in the cold wind Friday as friends and family huddled close and shared stories about Derricka Patrick, a young mother who was expecting her second child when she was gunned down this week.
“We love you, Derricka,” the crowd said in unison as the balloons drifted over lit candles that spelled out her name on the sidewalk.
Moments earlier, Patrick’s mother made an emotional plea to the two gunmen who killed her daughter as she sat in a parked car in Englewood.
“On behalf of my baby, my family, turn yourself in,” Christine Blanton said, fighting back tears. “You took a beautiful young lady from this world, you took her from her family and I can’t get my baby back.
“God gave her to me for 29 years and you just ended my baby’s life like that, that’s not right,” she added. “Why would you take my baby’s life. It hurts so bad, I want my baby back.”
Patrick was in the 7400 block of South Vincennes Avenue Wednesday night when she was shot by two gunmen who approached her car and opened fire, according to Chicago police. She died at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Patrick was the mother of a 9-year-old girl and was pregnant with her second child, her godmother Sabrina Harris said.
“I’m hurting, but I hurt for her, her family, my family, her baby,” Harris said. “She has a 9-year old-daughter that these people didn’t even think about. She had an unborn child that never made it into this world.”
Harris said Patrick was a “vibrant young lady” who was loved by her sisters, nieces, nephews and friends.
Early Walker, founder of “I’m Telling, Don’t Shoot,” said his organization will pay for Patrick’s funeral. He asked anyone with information to come forward, and reminded everyone that the city offers a reward of up to $15,000 for tips that lead to charges or convictions.
“This mom deserves answers, this family deserves answers,” Walker said. “You took a mom, a daughter away from this family, from this community. If there’s anything that was seen, please come forward.”
Glen Brooks, director of public engagement for Chicago police, called Patrick’s murder a national tragedy.
“One of the key components to this crime and so many others is the prevalence of guns,” Brooks said. “We have to find ways to get guns off our streets.”
Patrick was killed during a violent day in Chicago that saw two 14-year-old boys killed in separate shootings and a mass shooting in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood that wounded four people.
Three hours after the vigil for Patrick, a prayer service was held for one of the slain boys, Javion Ivy, who was shot twice in the chest in the 2200 block of West Adams Street Wednesday afternoon.
Friends and relatives formed a circle where he was killed and prayed for Javion and other victims of gun violence.
“It is not right for our children to be gunned down in the street,” said Edward Preecher with the group Together Chicago. He challenged churches to “call attention to the fact that this is not normal, and it is not acceptable.”
Just a day after Javion was killed, a member of the U.S. Navy was critically wounded and his 3-year-old daughter was grazed in the head during an apparent carjacking attempt in Chatham, according to police and family members.
Koreyuntaye Robinson and his daughter Kori were sitting in a parked car in the first block of East 79th Street when a car pulled up around 7:20 p.m. and someone inside fired shots, Chicago police said. Robinson drove away but crashed into a parked car in the 300 block of East 79th Street.
Shenell Griffin, Robinson’s mother, said her son was a friend of Derricka Patrick. “This is the worst I have ever seen it,” she said of the gun violence. “I cannot breathe here another day. I have to go, and my kids have to go.”
On Friday, Patrick’s godmother said she too had had enough. “We give birth to our children and don’t expect for them to be taken away in the manner that they have,” she said. “All the violence needs to stop. Ya’ll need to stop.”
Reporter Jermaine Nolen contributed to this report