Saturday will mark four months since Marshall D. Hall was shot to death in a West Side restaurant. And Donna Hall, his mother, plans to set aside her anger for a day and try to bring the neighborhood together around a more hopeful theme.
“I’m calling it the ‘Plea for Peace,’” she said. “We’re going to release 21 balloons.”
The event will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the 1500 block of N. Luna, where Hall lives. She said she plans to have a bounce house for younger children, and hopes to bring in a motivational speaker, “someone who can talk to these kids.”
Marshall Hall was 21 years old when he died, shot three times as he sat in a Popeye’s Chicken Restaurant in the 5500 block of W. North Ave., in the Austin neighborhood. No arrests have been made, and Hall said she is growing frustrated.
“It’s time for me to speak up as a parent, because they took the most important thing in the world from me. Whatever else they can do doesn’t matter,” she said.
Police have said Hall had known gang affiliations, a fact Donna Hall does not dispute. She said her son seemed to be on the right path in high school, even playing football at Gordon Tech. Then, at about age 17, things changed “overnight,” she said.
“I don’t know. I guess it was peer pressure,” she said.
Eventually Marshall Hall was arrested and charged with burglary, spending time in Cook County Jail before a judge sent him to the state’s “boot camp” program.
After he got out he was living with her. But when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant, Hall said her son decided to move out of the neighborhood to try and start a new life. She helped him rent an apartment in Hazelcrest, and he was doing janitorial work at a day care center. He was even making plans with a friend to start a janitorial business, she said.
“He decided he wasn’t going to mess with those guys no more,” she said, referring to gang members in the neighborhood.
On the night he was killed, Hall had gone to the Rivers Casino with his grandfather, part of a celebration of his 21st birthday. He won about $100, and picked up dinner for his mother.
“He said the food he got was too spicy for him, so he was going out to get some chicken,” she said.
Hall was shot and killed as he sat in the Popeye’s Chicken restaurant. Even after they told her her son was shot, and that they were taking him to the hospital and it didn’t look good, Hall said she refused to believe it.
“I couldn’t even go and ID the body,” she said. “They made me go. I had to go. That was the last I saw my child, laying stretched out on a table. I wouldn’t wish that pain on anybody.”