Chicago crime: Warm weather brings uptick of violence, shootings

April 12, 2014 (CHICAGO)

Friday night a 17-year-old girl was shot and killed and Saturday night, Chicago Police were on hand as family gathered to remember her.

In a 12 hour period Friday night through the early morning hours, 16 people were shot in the city, two of them fatally, including 17-year-old Gakirah Barnes, who was gunned down in the Woodlawn neighborhood in front of numerous witnesses. She was hit with at least nine bullets and pronounced dead several hours later.

They gather at the site of yet another shooting. They write memories and leave messages for her family. Gakirah Barnes is yet another teenager gunned down in front of numerous witnesses. Her mother has watched friends and neighbors go through this. Now she has to deal with it.

"This is beyond devastating. It's like you're living in a dream or something when something like this happens. In reality, this is how we live every day," said Shontell Barnes, Gakirah's mother.

Gakirah was on a porch with several friends around the corner from her grandmother's house when a lone gunman approached and started shooting. Witnesses say she was his apparent target.

"I saw him walk up to the porch and open fire, but he only shot at one person," said witness Derrick Ord.

Community activist Andrew Holmes works the neighborhood, passing out flyers for anyone who has information about the shooting with numbers to call and another with information on local companies who are hiring. He has seen this situation too often.

"Our family reunions now are inside the cemetery now," he said.

Earlier Saturday there was a neighborhood march to call attention to another teenaged murder victim, Simeon high school student Michael Flournoy.

"I'm trying to put a message out to the youth that violence is not the way," said activist Chanetha Brown.

Gakirah's mother agrees. She wants to make sure her daughter's death is not in vain, that it might help prevent other senseless killings.

"My daughter played basketball. She liked to do things, go to the mall with her friends, listen to music, hang out with her little sister was one of her favorite things. What do I tell her little sister?" Shontell Barnes said.

Witnesses say the suspect in Gakirah's killing was wearing a gray hoodie pulled tightly around his face. Her mother says police have no one in custody at this point, but she has collected several donations from the community and is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the killer.

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