Shamiya Adams’ mother Shaneetha Goodloe (right) weeps at a vigil
BY MITCH DUDEK AND BRIAN SLODYSKO
On Sunday afternoon, mourners called on God, the mayor, absentee parents and police to help stop gun violence two days after a stray bullet entered a West Side home where 11-year-old Shamiya Adams was attending a slumber party. She was shot in the head and died.
The girl’s mother, Shaneetha Goodloe, wept as family members held her at a vigil steps away from where her daughter was shot Friday night on the 3900 block of West Gladys in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.
Shamiya’s twin brother stayed close to family members at the service. The boy’s aunt, Renee Williams, said he’s devastated. “We’re going to have to wrap our arms around each other and draw strength from each other,” she said.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) reiterated that there was an $8,000 reward for information leading to the shooter, and he struggled to explain his emotions.
“She was doing what children should do, and it’s tough. I just don’t know how to describe it. It’s tough,” he said.
Sharonda Jones, who was hosting the sleepover and was about to microwave gooey marshmallow s’mores when the bullet was fired, stopped wandering the crowd of mourners outside her house for a moment Sunday to reflect. She said she’s angry and wants her best friend back.
“She treated me like a real sister,” said Sharonda, 11, who attended Melody Elementary School with Shamiya. “I’m going to really, really miss her.”
Sharonda described the bloody moments after the fatal gunshot.
“We started screaming. We started jumping up and down and going crazy,” she said, referring to her sleepover pals. “I want the shooter arrested for the rest of his life.”
Shamiya’s cousin, Jarias Boose, 10, also attended the vigil.
“I want to say that I love her, and I always will,” he said. “I’ll miss how she used to dance and sing. And she used to eat a lot. Like when we had pizza, she’d have more pizza than me.”
A group of motorcyclists from the Chicago Ruff Ryders club who attended Sunday’s vigil locked arms to form a circle around the family as the crowd, numbering over 200 people, prayed. After a closing prayer, members of the group revved their engines and each biker held up one hand to honor Shamiya.
Earlier Sunday at a separate memorial service, Shamiya’s pastor said words alone could not accurately capture how “despicable” and “senseless” her death was.
“I don’t think you can have words to phrase it, to talk about how despicable it is,” the Rev. George W. Daniels said at First Baptist Congregational Church.
Several of Shamiya’s friends sobbed at the front of the church as the congregation prayed for them.
Speaking to reporters, Daniels lamented Shamiya’s death.
“Children should have hope, they should have dreams,” he said. “It’s bad enough for gang-bangers to be shooting up each other — but when our babies are being killed, there’s something horrific about that.
He called on leaders at the federal and local level to enact stronger gun control measures.
“This act of violence — people having handguns and destroying the lives of others — it doesn’t make sense,” Daniels said. “Something has to be done about this gun control.”
The bullet — fired by a gunman in the street outside Friday night — flew across a vacant, grassy lot, through an open window and then a wall, striking Shamiya in the head, authorities said.
And just like that, Adams became the latest in a long line of child murder victims caught in the crossfire of Chicago gun violence.
“Every time we have a child that gets killed, they have signs that say ‘Don’t shoot, I want to grow up.’ Well, they mean that,” Shamiya’s great-grandmother Lourene Miller said Saturday night as about 150 weeping mourners gathered to pray at the murder scene.
On Sunday, police had made no arrests but they think the shooting was spurred by a gang-related drug-trafficking dispute.
The gunman fired from either a vacant lot or a building just southeast of where Shamiya was killed, said Harrison District Cmdr. Glenn Evans, who vowed that his officers will find the killer.
Shamiya was the 34th child victim of homicide in Chicago this year, adding her name to a depressingly long list that in recent years included innocents such as Hadiya Pendleton and Jonylah Watkins.
— Contributing: Becky Schlikerman