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Funeral held for slain teacher Betty Howard

A funeral was held Saturday for Chicago Public School teacher Betty Howard, who was shot and killed last week near 79th and Langley, the innocent victim of Chicago's gun violence.
Saturday, June 07, 2014
A funeral was held Saturday for Chicago Public School teacher Betty Howard, who was shot and killed last week near 79th and Langley, the innocent victim of Chicago's gun violence.

Police say they are still looking for the person who fired the gun that killed the beloved teacher. She was killed late last month by a stray bullet.

The church is standing room only, an indication of the number of lives the 58-year-old educator touched. Friends and family remember the wife, mother, teacher and first lady of her church who always had a smile on her face.

"She helped everybody," said cousin Frederick Wells. "Counseling the school, secretary in the church 35 years. It was unbelievable."

"It's a very empty space there because she touched so many people," said friend Valerie Watson. "I didn't realize how many lives she really touched until today."

The funeral included tributes from the Chicago Police Department, her church and Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, where she taught special education students for the last seven years.

Her death has hit the school and community especially hard. They announced during the service they will honor her memory with a scholarship.

"That's what she stood for, she was education," said Dr. Dushon Ball, former principal.

"It's really sad because it didn't have to happen. Something as devastating and tragic as this could have been prevented," said colleague Eugene Hazzard.

Police say Howard was hit by a stray bullet that went through the wall of the real estate office where she worked part time. It was apparently fired as part of a gang conflict and intended for someone else.

Her family is anxious for police to find the killer, but that was not their focus on this day.

"It's always in the back of the mind and then you have people who want to take vengeance into their own hands if they found out who this individual is, but that's really not going to bring my sister back. So we don't want to put any effort towards that as much as we want to put effort toward the healing process," said brother Orlando Well.

Howard's family said there is an $8,000 reward for information that leads police to the killer, however they are expecting more donations and that reward will likely grow.
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news chicago crime chicago shooting gang violence teacher
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