Crane shooting suspect appears in court

March 11, 2008 4:39:34 PM PDT
Community leaders and the mayor of Chicago are pushing for stiffer gun laws in the wake of recent violence involving Chicago Public Schools students. The latest student to die, Ruben Ivy, died Friday in a shooting just outside Crane High School on the city's West Side.

The story has been repeated far too often. The names and locations change. Last Friday it was a student at Crane High School. But this violent reactivity and tragic results are prompting local leaders to step up their response.

The family of Ruben Ivy left court Tuesday, four days after Ivy was shot and killed outside of Crane High School. They were in court for the hearing of the 15-year-old accused of the murder. Devonte Smith briefly appeared in court. His family also attended the proceedings. The suspect's mother spoke outside the courthouse.

"My heart is hurting," said Devonte's mother, Delilah Smith. "My heart is hurting for my son and for the other son als that's not here anymore. My heart is hurting for both sons."

Smith's family says he is not a bad kid and they are struggling with the charges made against him. They are also struggling with the ongoing violence throughout the city.

"My family is grieving. My community is grieving. And I'm pretty sure that the other family and their community is grieving. We're not here for violence or anything. We're here to stop all the violence," said Delilah Smith.

"I know him not to be a troublemaker. I've never seen that side of him. This is as much a shock to me as anybody else that would have known him. I'm hard pressed to believe everything that I'm hearing," said Devonte Smith's minister Paster Tommy Johnson.

Smith's family said they are praying for Ruben Ivy's family and praying for an end senseless violence. They contend Devonte Smith is a good kid. Outside of court, tensions were high as friends of both Ivy and Smith came to support the families. It is the most recent case of a Chicago child taken by violence. Elsewhere in the city, local leaders stand announce a new reward fund for any Chicago child killed by gun fire.

"We will put a $5,000 reward in every child's life in the City of Chicago to understand there is no life that is more or less valuable," said Father Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

While this is a Chicago effort, those here point to a problem affecting our nation.

"I don't care where you are in life. Guns are not going to settle any issue in your family, in your home, or community," said Mayor Daley.

"Children should not be getting killed. They should not -- it should not be happening. One funeral is one too many. One grieving family is one too many," said Supt. Jody Weis, Chicago Police Dept.

"Collectively, we have to push as hard as we can and challenge the status quos. If we can do that, we'll change this for generations. If this doesn't happen, our children will have to live with fear and no child should have to," said Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools CEO.

Among those supporting efforts to combat violence was the family of Blair Holt, the young man who was shot while trying to protect a friend.

"The pain that it causes. 10 months, two years. We all hurt. We hurt. You know, this pain doesn't go away," said Annette Nance-Holt, Blair Holt's mother.

At Tuesday's press conference, the Holts and the Chicago leadership are demanding gun laws, they say, make sense. They also announced that every time a Chicago child is shot and killed there would be a rally at the State of Illinois building at 11 a.m. the next day and a march to the Chicago Temple to light a candle for that child.