Chicago, IL – Two mothers who were members of a community peace organization were gunned down Friday night on a South Side Chicago corner they had been working to reclaim for the neighborhood.
The women who were murdered, 25-year-old Chantel Grant and 35-year-old Andrea Stoudemire, had spent two years working with Mothers Against Senseless Killings, a group of moms who organize safe spaces and events for children in the community, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
On Aug. 2, Grant and Stoudemire were hanging out at their usual spot in an effort to cub gun violence in the city, handing out food to mothers and children, CBS News reported.
From the corner of 75th Street and Stewart Avenue, they could oversee an empty lot their organization had converted into a children’s play area.
The women had chosen to occupy that specific corner also because its where three women were shot in 2015, prompting the creation of their group, according to KAKE.
It was also the location of the drive-by shooting of a 23-year-old woman in June, according to CBS News.
That victim survived multiple gunshot wounds, but Grant and Stoudemire would not be so lucky.
It was just before 10 p.m. on Friday night and the mothers had just finished their work and were headed to a nearby store to buy food for themselves, CBS News reported.
That was when a blue SUV pulled up to the corner and someone inside the truck opened fire on the people standing there, KAKE reported.
Chicago Police Department Spokeswoman Sally Bown said both women were killed, and two men who had been standing near them were wounded.
"The irony of them being shot when they were out doing one of these vigils is, personally, very disturbing," Bown told KAKE on Tuesday.
Members of Mothers Against Senseless Killings have taken the attack personally.
"For mothers to be killed in a place where mothers go to seek safety and sisterhood, I take that as a personal threat," group founder Tamar Manasseh told KAKE. "Because when you come for one of us, you better believe they came for all of us."
Grant had four children children and Stoudemire was the mother of three, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
"It is terrifying. It is heartbreaking. I haven’t slept because I am trying to figure out how we can stop this,” Manasseh said. “Who’s next? I just keep thinking, ‘Who’s next?’”
But police have said they do not think that the mothers were the intended targets on Friday night, CBS News reported.
Chicago Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the bullets that killed Grant and Stoudemire were meant for a 58-year-old gang member who had just gotten out of prison.
The target was one of the men who was wounded, CBS News reported.
Guglielmi said that the actual target was refusing to cooperate with the Chicago Police Department investigation of Grant and Stoudemire’s murders.
The mother’s group’s founder wasn’t satisfied with the police department’s determination and said she thought Grant and Stoudemire had been shot intentionally.
"They killed mothers on a corner where mothers sit every day," Manasseh said. "You don't have mothers killed in a place that is sacred to mothers and not take that as a message."
"They can't even walk to the store without getting killed,” she lamented. "They were killed for parenting."
One man who lived near the corner where Grant and Stoudemire were shot said he sat with one of the woman and held her hand as she died, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“It’s too much around here,” he said. “The older people can’t come out and sit on the porch; the kids can’t play. It’s just, wow. Everyone is scared.”