CHICAGO - A Chicago mother is looking for answers after her teenage daughter was killed by the very people she tries to help.
It has been seven months since Kattina Gunn stood on a Chicago corner stunned by what had just happened to her daughter.
“I flew right here. I'm like 'not my baby.' I was hoping it was somebody else, it was not my child. I just got off the phone with her. Then to get here, I see everything. Everybody was like 'no, not Dareyona. Not Yona,'” Gunn said.
Dareyona Smith was 18, a senior in high school and just months away from graduation when she was shot in the back while trying to run away from the hail of gunfire that was aimed at someone else. But a single bullet took her life instead.
“I couldn't ever imagine something like this would happen to my child. She was gonna’ move out of town. Go to college. Something for her life. Somebody woke up angry that day. This can happen to anybody. It's just sad. My heart is just broken,” Gunn said.
It was March 12, 2019 and Dareyona had just finished softball practice. She was heading home, walking on Paulina towards 79th with a couple of friends. She had called her mother three minutes before the gunfire started.
“People say wrong place, wrong time. How was it wrong when she was going to school. She was doing what she was supposed to do. She wasn't bothering nobody,” Gunn said. “It can happen to anybody. I would have never thought in a million years that this would be my daughter.”
“The young lady was walking this way with her girlfriends and then she went ahead and turned a corner on west 79th Street. There was a vehicle driving eastbound on 79th Street and when it drove up, the individual from the passenger opened fire,” said Detective Margaret Wolanski.
Detective Wolanski of Area South says there were plenty of people who saw the dark colored Nissan, and that they likely know the gunman who pulled the trigger.
“This was broad daylight. This was 5 o'clock in the evening. There was lots of traffic. This is a very popular intersection. People are traveling to and from work. There was people out. It was a warm day. There was a lot of people out during the day,” Wolanski said. “We know that 79th Street is a big borderline. The gangs on that side of the street are in constant rivalry with gangs from this side of the streets. It's constant back and forth. It's very turmoil-ish.”
Turmoil is the tool that gangs use to instill fear.
“This is a perpetual cycle. If these people are doing this stuff and no one calls and stops them, then it's not going to stop the crime, it's just going to increase. Because nobody talks, I feel like it gives them strength that they can go ahead and do this stuff at any time of day knowing that nobody is going to say anything,” Wolanski said. “It's frustrating because we care about the community. We want to do our best to solve the crimes. But we need the community to help us.”
The irony of it all is that the young victim’s mother works with "Cure Violence" -- an organization that helps troubled youth. Their mission is to interrupt the gangs before they begin shooting. She never imagined her daughter would fall victim to the very violence she was fighting.
“It's hard for me to wake up every morning and get up out of bed and still go to work. Everything that I worked so hard for. I tried to teach her so much. Somebody woke up angry and took her away, just like that. I never could have imagined this. Never,” Gunn said.
There are several cameras near that intersection. However, none of them captured the Nissan’s plate. That's why it is important for someone to come forward.
If that someone is you, call police or email FOX 32 at email@example.com.