BY SUSAN DU
Homicide Watch Chicago
Paris Brown had just dropped off dinner for her young daughter and was about to go on a dinner date with her fiance when she was fatally shot outside her Greater Grand Crossing home last week, family said.
Brown, 21, was sitting in a parked car outside her home in the 7100 block of South Perry Avenue in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood when an SUV pulled up alongside and somebody inside opened fire about 10:55 p.m. June 9, authorities said.
She died less than an hour later at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. A man in the car — identified by family as Brown’s fiance — was shot in the back and lower leg and treated at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, police said.
Brown had just bought the car three months ago, and the couple were going on a dinner date when the gunfire erupted, family said.
Brown’s mother, Phyllis Hawkins, said the couple had dropped off McDonald’s for their young daughter and just got back into the car when she heard gunshots. Hawkins said she ran to a window and saw the remainder of the attack.
“I was just shouting and screaming when I heard the shots because I knew,” Hawkins said. “I ran out the door to the car, no hesitation. I witnessed my daughter there, unresponsive … I was calling her name. It was probably the last thing she heard.”
Prior to the shooting, Brown and Hawkins had been planning a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for Brown’s 3-year-old daughter.
Brown supported her daughter by working as a customer service representative for a collections agency in northwest suburban Schaumburg. She had her own apartment, a growing savings account and a car, family said.
Brown wanted to get married and take road trips in that car. Instead that car is where she was shot to death.
“It hurt me bad,” her friend LaKesha Clifford said. “Paris was my friend. She always smiled. She was pretty. I ain’t never found nobody that understood me after all these years … My Paris, she was my angel and I’m gonna miss her real bad.”
Brown was an only child, but grew up in a house with ample aunts, uncles and cousins — some of whom were close enough in age to be siblings, her uncle James Hawkins said. As a baby, Brown rarely cried, a trait that continued into adulthood.
“I will say that Paris was never lacking for strength,” James Hawkins said. “She was like a rose that grew out of the concrete.”
Gangs and gunfire in the neighborhood prompted James Hawkins to suggest moving the family to the suburbs, but Brown always disregarded talk of leaving the city she loved.
“At this time, suburbia might just be the place we need to be,” James Hawkins said. “We need peace and quiet. That’s something that’s sticking with me now, that maybe we should have packed up and moved away from the city earlier, gotten away from this violence.”
Nobody has been charged for the murder. Area South detectives are investigating.
— Video by Peter Holderness