Interim Supt. Fred Waller speaks at press conference on July 31, 2023. Credit: Jacqueline Cardenas/ Block Club Chicago

NORTH LAWNDALE — Chicago police offered one day of counseling, among other social services, after one woman was killed and nine people, mostly women, were wounded in a Sunday morning mass shooting on the West Side.

Police, local officials and community organizers opened Deliverance Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, 1457 S. Komensky Ave., for a day of immediate crisis counseling, confidential domestic violence counseling, financial loss guidance after a crime and access to therapy dogs, officials said Monday.

Few people attended, which officials said was partly because of the quick turnaround in organizing the event and limited outreach. Ald. Monique Scott (24th) and others speaking at the church said the resources are necessary and helpful, but there is still work to be done to inform the neighborhood about what long-term tools there are to cope with violence and trauma.

“The people who need these resources are not here. We have to knock on doors and meet with people directly,” Scott said. “We are going to keep coming back here if we don’t do something different.”

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The shooting occurred around around 12:51 a.m in the 1500 block of South Keeler Avenue, police said. A group of women were at a gathering when a black Jeep approached them and multiple people started shooting at the group, police said.

Kanesha Gaines, 21, was shot in the face and pronounced dead at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She died of multiple gunshot wounds in a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Natasha Graham, Gaines’ mother, told NBC5 her daughter is the second child she’s lost to gun violence. Her 18-year-old son, Keshaun Graham, was fatally shot in 2019.

Relatives told ABC7 that Gaines had a 3-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

Gaines’ parents started a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral costs.

The wounded victims are:

  • A 28-year-old woman was shot eight times in her torso. She was transported to Mount Sinai in critical condition.
  • A 33-year-old woman was grazed in her stomach, a 28-year-old woman was shot in the right knee and another woman whose age was not disclosed was grazed in her right arm. All three were taken to Mount Sinai in good condition.
  • A 31-year-old woman was shot in her left leg and forearm, a 30-year-old woman was shot four times in her shoulder and arm, a 24-year-old woman was shot in her right wrist and a 20-year-old woman was shot in her right thigh. All four were transported to Stroger Hospital in good condition.
  • A 20-year-old man was shot in his right thigh and taken to Stroger Hospital in good condition.

Interim Supt. Fred Waller said police believe the female victims had gathered for a birthday celebration. Detectives are still investigating and no one is in custody, he said at a press conference Monday.

“I think it was a birthday celebration for one of the victims, but he was actually, one was a male, but we can’t associate him exactly with that. But we did have a male who was in that area. And we’re still investigating that part,” Waller said. “He said he was shot in the area. So we don’t exactly know, but we are treating it as if he was shot somewhere in the area. Although the party that was attended was all women.”

Anyone with information about the shooting can contact Chicago Police detectives at 312-746-8252.

Kanesha Gaines, 21, was shot and killed July 30, 2023 in a mass shooting that wounded nine other people. Credit: GoFundMe

The Helen & Joe Foundation, Lutheran Church Charities and UCAN partnered to provide the services. UCAN runs therapeutic programs to help young people struggling with emotional distress and trauma, Helen & Joe works with families and seniors and Lutheran Church Charities has a crisis response team that dispatches to help and comfort neighbors.

Scott (24th) and Rep. Lakesia Collins also met with residents at Deliverance on Monday afternoon to lend support.

Scott, who has lived in North Lawndale her entire life, said Monday this shooting was very disturbing to her since most of the victims are women.

“It shook me to my core,” Scott said. “It was just a group of women having a good time and they just got ambushed.”

Corniki Bornds, a violence prevention activist, noticed the gender disparity as well, saying it was unusual to see a group of women the target of a mass shooting in the area.

Bornds began her work as an organizer with Help Understanding Grief after her son, Fontaine Sanders, was killed four days before his 20th birthday. 

According to a study by Women In International Security, shootings in which a woman was the victim in Chicago increased 13.5 percent each year between 2016 and 2019.

“It’s another fear in our community, that now our women are not even safe anymore,” Bornds said. “A woman who likes to run and exercise will live with the fear of being killed for no reason. We have to do something to reprogram the minds of our people.”

The center was open Monday to to anyone who has been affected by violence, including yesterday shooting,” Waller said. No appointment or police report was needed.

A police department crime victim advocate consulted with anyone seeking support, and that person was “directed to our partners….” for ongoing assistance, said the department’s crime victim services assistant director, Aileen Robinson.

Those who sought help from the center wold get “a plan to follow up and referrals, whether that’s internally through the department or with our partners in the community,” Robinson said.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all for everybody, so we customize those services and then that assistance doesn’t stop at 7 o’clock tonight,” Robinson said. The assistance center “is an opportunity for us to get into the community and to expedite crisis services and referral to crucial recovery services.”

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