Mom loses 2nd son to gun violence during Mother's Day preparations; gardener also killed

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The grief is unimaginable.

A mother is trying to comprehend that nearly five months after burying one son as a result of gun violence, she must now bury another.

"We were just cooking our Mother's Day dinner like I always do," said Diane Archer, the victim's mother. "He was an aspiring rapper. Everyone knew him as 'Benji.' He was trying to do good. He had a son."

Brandon Slater, 26 years old, was shot and killed in broad daylight as he and a friend walked out of a West Pullman home around 2:45 p.m. Saturday.

It's a home that was in the midst of preparations for a large Mother's Day celebration tomorrow. Those preparations that included hiring a 64-year-old man to come mow the lawn.

"He was cutting the backyard. They had called him to cut the backyard because of the big celebration tomorrow," said Pastor Donovan Price, a victims' advocate.

That man, according to detectives on the scene, appeared to have come out from the back after hearing the initial round of gunfire. He was struck in the chest and later died at Christ Hospital.

"I am so tired of this nonsense," Archer said. "Something has to be done."

A motive for the shooting has not been determined. Initial reports from police appear to indicate that a car drove up to the home. Someone got out of the car and opened fire directly at Slater. But even as the Chicago Police Department reported a decrease in both shootings and homicides during the month of April as compared to last year, some anti-violence advocates said they're worried about what they've been seeing on the streets just over the last couple of weeks.

"That's almost summer numbers, but we're not in the summer yet," Price said. "But what should be we expect when summer really comes out and people really get a chance to go out?"

According to police, Slater's 27-year-old companion was also injured, shot once in the leg. He is now recovering at Christ Hospital.

A third male victim, 64 years old, was near the front lawn when he was struck in the chest and transported to Christ Hospital, police said. He was initially reported in critical condition.

At this point, no arrests have been made and the investigation continues.
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