CHATHAM — Relatives of two people fatally shot Tuesday morning in Chatham are fundraising for their funeral services and vowing to bring their killer to justice.
Jeanette Binder started a GoFundMe to pay for the hefty funeral costs of her mother, Gloria Binder, and younger brother, Erskine Binder. Both were killed in an attack that prompted a SWAT response in the 900 block of East 79th Street, devastating family members and neighbors. Vincent Johnson, Gloria Binder’s husband, also was shot and remains hospitalized.
Erskine Binder was killed on his 42nd birthday, his sister said.
Jeanette Binder said it’s fallen to her to find a way to pay for her mother and brother’s funerals and “send them home the proper way.” She hopes to raise $30,000. You can donate here.
By sharing the love and light the victims possessed, Jeanette Binder hopes to keep the slaying of her family on the public’s radar — and help officers catch whoever is responsible, she said.
“I want justice for my mother and my brother,” she said. “I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to do this, how I’m going to bury two people? Whenever they catch the guy that did this, I want to ask him why he would do this? These are elderly people, people who don’t bother anybody. Why did you shoot them? Why did you take my mom and brother away from me?”
‘They Never Made It Back’
Tuesday morning started as any other day, Jeanette Binder said.
It was typical for Gloria Binder and Vincent Johnson to get an early start. On the first of the month, her mother would always rise before or with the sun to grab her federal check, pay bills, grab groceries and come home, all before the hustle and bustle of city life began, Jeanette Binder said.
Gloria Binder gave her daughter a call around 5 a.m. Tuesday to tell her she’d be home in the next few hours and she should come for a visit. Erskine Binder said he’d also be there and would see her soon, Jeanette Binder said.
“They never made it back,” she said. “I got a call from my granddaughter around 6 a.m., and she told me that my little brother was laid out on the ground shot up. She said that my mother and her husband were shot and rushed to the hospital.”
The shooting happened about 6 a.m. outside of an apartment building at 940 E. 79th Street, police said, but what led to the attack is not clear.
Erskine Binder stopped by the Chatham apartment Tuesday morning to catch up with cousins who live there, his sister said. At some point, someone came out of the building and fired at Gloria Binder and Vincent Johnson’s car, she said.
The couple tried to drive away, but they only made it about two blocks before Johnson collapsed behind the wheel, Jeanette Binder said. As Erskine Binder came out of the building, the attacker shot him in his head before pushing him out of the building’s entryway on the ground.
Gloria Binder, 67, was shot in her arm and Erskine Binder, 42, was shot across his body, police said. They were taken to the University of Chicago Hospital, where they died, police said. Vincent Johnson, 55, was shot in his face and taken to the University of Chicago Hospital, where his condition stabilized.
Members of a SWAT team converged on an apartment building at 940 E. 79th St., forcing residents to stay inside for hours as officers went door to door looking for the shooter, neighbors said. No one has been arrested, police said. Detectives are investigating.
Jeanette Binder said she’s tried to stay strong in her mother’s honor. But without her mother or brother by her side, it’s been difficult to hold it together.
“Everybody is gone,” Jeanette Binder said. “God is going to see me through. I just have to be strong.
“I have to try to keep my mother’s legacy going on and try to keep the family together as much as I can.”
Jeanette Binder described her mother as a “sweetheart.”
While working at a nursing home, Jeanette Binder met a resident who wasn’t sure where to go once discharged from the facility, she said. She knew she could call her mom for help, she said.
“I told her [the resident] was being put out and didn’t have anywhere to go, but that I knew he was a good guy,” Jeanette Binder said. “He called my mom, and she let him stay with her. She didn’t even know this man. She just went off my word and she let him in her house. She helped him get on his feet. The man is doing good.”
That man called her on Thursday. When she told him her mother had been killed, he broke down crying.
Gloria Binder was known for cooking big Sunday dinners and gathering the entire family around the table. In the summer, she’d barbecue in the backyard while listening and dancing to music.
“She was the heart, the backbone and the strength of the family,” she said. And described Erskine as “everything a little brother could be.”
When her son needed someone to take care of his dogs in Wisconsin, her brother made the drive, Jeanette Binder said. If you needed someone to cook you dinner, wash your car, grab groceries or shovel your snow, you knew to call him and he’d be there, she said.
“He would come over to my house, and we would sit up and drink coffee and just talk,” she said. “If he was here now during this snowstorm, he would’ve been out there digging people out. He was a good person.”
Not a moment has been the same since Tuesday morning, she said. But amid her grief, she’s trying to remain grateful for the moments she had.
“I’ll be 50 this year, and I always prayed to God to keep my mom around until I got grown and was able to take care of myself,” Jeanette Binder said. “God gave me 50 years with my mom and my brother. For now, I’m taking it one day at a time.”
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