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Anti-violence activist: ‘This is my baby they took’

Chicago anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes has spent years supporting the grieving parents of victims of shootings.

On Saturday, Holmes joined their ranks when his oldest daughter — a mother of five — was shot and killed in Indianapolis, where she’d lived for about eight years.

“It done hit my doorstep,” Holmes said by phone from Indianapolis. “Now, I don’t have to only wear these shoes, but I have to lace them up and tie them up and keep pushing.”

Holmes said his daughter, Tamara Sword, was with friends at an Indianapolis club when it was shut down after an altercation inside. Sword, 32, and her friends went to a nearby gas station, he said, and those who had been fighting in the club, ended up there, too.

Then, someone “pulled out a high-powered assault weapon and shot inside the gas station,” Holmes said.

As Sword ran back to the car she’d been riding in, she was shot in the chest, her grieving father said.

Sword was found in the passenger seat of the vehicle after the 2:30 a.m. shooting. She was taken to a hospital where she died, according to the Indianapolis police, who said an unidentified man was found dead under a car.

Holmes said his daughter didn’t know the man.

No one has been charged.

Chicago anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes.  File photo

Chicago anti-violence activist Andrew Holmes. File photo

Sword had worked her way up to become the manager of a KFC fast-food restaurant, he said, and was a devoted single mother to her five kids — the youngest 7 years old and the oldest 16.

“I always knew what type of pain that them families were going through,” the longtime Chicago anti-violence activist said. “The suffering, the crying — just total destruction.

“Now, I’m in the same predicament,” Holmes said. “Now, I’m feeling the pain that they’re feeling.”

Holmes said he expects his grandkids, who are “going through pure hell right now,” will come live with family in Chicago.

And Holmes, who is a crisis responder for a new $1.7 million, two-year program funded by the city, said he’s going to stay focused on his anti-violence mission.

“It makes me just stronger and stronger,” he said. “This is my baby they took.”