Chicago shooting deaths: Outcry as anti-gun violence mothers shot dead while campaigning

Andrew Buncombe

Two women who campaigned against Chicago’s infamous gun violence, have themselves been shot and killed on a street corner where activists frequently stood to keep watch.

The anti-gun violence group Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK), confirmed Chantell Grant and Andrea Stoudemire were killed after a blue SUV pulled up to the corner, and someone in the vehicle opened fired into the crowd.

“People are tired of being afraid. We’re sick of being afraid. We live in these communities and then we somehow are penalised and punished for living here. If you’re poor, you’re poor,” said MASK founder Tamar Manasseh.

“But when women are killed, it’s not their fault. It’s not because they made bad decisions. It’s not they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Police said the two women were killed on Friday night in South Side neighbourhood of Englewood, where members of the group often stood watch.

Chicago shooting deaths: Outcry as anti-gun violence mothers shot dead while campaigning

Mr Grant, 26, was mother to three young children. Ms Stoudemire, 35, had two children. They were among a total of 48 people shot in the city over the weekend, eight of them fatally.

Chicago has a reputation for some of the deadliest and most persistent gun violence in the country, though it is not evenly distributed.

Most occurs in the South Side, which has had a large African American population and which has long suffered from poverty, partly the result of housing laws that long discriminated against minority communities.

MASK was founded in 2015 and works to “interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies”.

NNC News said there have been more than 1,190 shooting incidents in the city so far this year, and almost 1,530 shooting victims, according to police.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi called the murders “senseless”. He added: “We have no evidence to suggest the women were the intended targets.”