North Lawndale shooting: Mother of 2 killed, 8 other women injured during birthday party

'Unbearably hurt': 21-year-old Kanesha Gaines shot to death after 18-year-old brother Keshaun gunned down in 2019

ByEvelyn Holmes and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Mom of 2 killed, 8 other women hurt in shooting during West Side party
A North Lawndale shooting in Chicago killed Kanesha Gaines and injured eight other women near near 15th and Keeler.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Natasha Graham is struggling with her painful reality: she's lost another one of her children to gun violence.

"I'm unbearably hurt. That's my oldest daughter. That's my oldest daughter," Graham said.

Kanesha Gaines, 21, was killed and eight other women were wounded when someone opened fire in the city's North Lawndale neighborhood early Sunday morning.

Kanesha was a funny everything. She was outgoing. She was the queen of the world," Graham said.

The shooting happened in the 1500 block of South Keeler Avenue just before 1 a.m.

Police said as Gaines and a group of women, gathered there for a luau party, enjoyed the Hawaiian-themed birthday celebration, a black Jeep approached. Without warning, multiple unknown suspects, armed with guns, got out and started shooting at the women.

"With all these women being shot, something has to be personal. Why would you just unload on a yard, a house full of women that was here on the outside celebrating someone's birthday," said community activist Andrew Holmes.

The victims were all shot and wounded and range in age from 20 to 33 years old. Gaines was shot in the face and later died. A 28-year-old woman who was struck eight times remains hospitalized in critical condition.

"You can't even go outside no more," said Maria Brison, who lives nearby.

While the violence has left neighborhood residents on edge, relatives once again, are dealing with the trauma of loss. Gaines' 18-year-old brother, Keshaun, was a victim of gun violence in 2019.

"With what you've got left, you're just trying to hold onto it as close as you can. Don't let your kids outside," Graham said.

Relatives said Gaines was a home healthcare worker and part-time stylist. She leaves behind a 3-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

Amid the grief, there's also a mother's anger over all the guns on the streets and those willing to use them, as well as plea for justice and the violence to stop.

"I'm going to continue to be the strong one I'm going to help my family and we're going to make it past this," Graham said.

No one was in custody later Sunday morning; Area Four detectives are investigating.

Chicago police released a statement on the incident Sunday afternoon that said in part, "Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of the victim who was killed. We are also walking alongside those injured in this shooting and those who were present and witnessed the reprehensible act of violence."

The Chicago Police Crime Victim Services Unit set up an assistance center for those impacted by the shooting in North Lawndale. Located at the Deliverance Temple of Apostolic Faith Church at 1457 South Komensky Avenue, the center will be open on Monday from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m.

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