Enough Is Enough: Mother Loses Last Of Four Children To Chicago Gun Violence

69 comments
January 28, 2013 ‐ By
Source: Chicago Tribune

Siblings from left: Carlos, LaToya, Jerome and Ronnie Chambers. Carlos was killed in 1995 and LaToya and Jerome were killed in 2000. Ronnie was killed on Jan. 26, 2013. Source: Chicago Tribune

Newtown, Connecticut isn’t the only community suffering the loss of young lives due to unnecessary gun violence. For decades now, the South and West side of Chicago has been, at times, worse than a war zone when it comes to the lives of young, black men and women. According to reports, last year, Chicago’s homicide rate exceeded 500 for the first time since 2008, surpassing larger cities like New York and Los Angeles. 80 percent of these homicide victims are African American.

A sharp reminder of this issue came to the forefront this weekend as mother, Shirley Chambers, lost her last surviving son, Ronnie. Before Ronnie, Shirley had lost three other children to gun violence in the city. Her son was one of 7 people killed this past weekend in unrelated shootings around the city. Ronnie Chambers, a 33 year old former gang member, was in the process of turning his life around. In fact, he was also trying to encourage others to do the same. Last month, he appeared on the “Ricki Lake Show” to encourage aspiring rapper, YK, and dissuade him from getting involved in a life of crime.

Ronnie had just come from a promotion and listening party for YK’s music the day the shooting occurred. At around 2 am, Ronnie and another 21 year old man were parked across the street from the Safer Foundation North Lawndale, an Illinois Department of Corrections transitional facility for adults with criminal records when the shooting occurred. The other man in the car managed to get in the backseat after shots were fired and was later taken to Mount Sinai hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg.

Ronnie, who had tattoos dedicated to all of his deceased siblings, died at the scene, the last of Shirley’s children. In 1995, Shirley’s son, Carlos was killed at 18. Then five years later her daughter, LaToya, 15 was killed in April. Her son Jerome was killed later that year in July. Back in 2000, when The Chicago Tribune interviewed Shirley Chambers, she said: “I have one child left, and I’m afraid that [the killing] won’t stop until he’s gone too.”

Tragically, her prediction was correct.

When Chambers spoke to NBC this past weekend she was naturally distraught.

“Right now, I’m totally lost because Ronnie was my only surviving son.”

And in an interview with the Tribune, she wondered why her family had experienced so much loss: “What did I do wrong? I was there for them. We didn’t have everything we wanted but we had what we needed. They took my only child. I have nobody right now. That’s my only baby.”

In light of the gun violence, that continues to plague Chicago, many in the black community are wondering and even expecting President Obama to speak out for this community, like he’s done for Newtown, considering he was an activist, lawyer, professor and politician in the city for over a decade.

What do you make of what’s going on in Chicago? What can be done to address this issue? Should the president speak on Chicago more as he fights for stricter gun control laws?

 

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Steve McNeal

    My Questions Why does the media ignoe these. How many grand children? How many years have Shriley been unemployed? What education levels did these children reach? What is the gang record? Did Shirley grow up on welfare? How many siblings does she have? What are their criminal records? Where are the father “s”? Was Carlos a gang member? Was La Toya involved in gangs? Had she been arrested?

    Let me see these answers and then we can have any idea as to how we all can help.

    God Bless

    Steve

  • http://www.facebook.com/L0B0CHIC0 Rodolfo Arriaga

    I believe in the second amendment that the rights of citizens to bear arms should not be infringed. However, I believe that right only applies to law abiding citizens not criminals. Does Chicago not have police checkpoints to check for drunk drivers? Could checkpoints be set up to check for illegally possessed or carried firearms? I understand the implication of checkpoints and the illegal search and seizure aspect of my idea. Yet, are the police not allowed to setup roadblocks to capture bank robbers and other types of criminals? Or has Chicago Law enforcement turned a blind-eye to these killings because they involve African Ameicans?

  • anon

    It’s ridiculous, and the most sinister and cynical part of my brain wonders if people are getting paid to go out and randomly shoot and kill people

  • B

    I’m truly sorry for her loss. What a tragedy. Obama should intervene being that he is from Chicago.

  • Pingback: Four Siblings Killed in Chicago Gun Violence | What Burney Says

  • kay

    Okay so the reality is this, both black women and men are to blame for the inconsistent and negligent behavior of our black men growing up in urban areas. We as women have to be more aware and cautious of the men we let into our live, our hearts and out beds. Reality is a good number of black women grow up with no father figure and so in this they do not see a healthy relationship between a man and a women and have to make their won definition of love and the first man who give them a bit of attention that they may or may not seek becomes the definition of what love is. They then allow these men who have also had no father figure or a poor definition of one enter their lives and become the father to their children. It then becomes a blind leading the blind situation, which brings us to now! We as a African american community have to be more accountable for our actions and more aware of who we are allowing to or not to influence our children. This violence is an endless cycle ,we really start to take maters seriously and decided to do better.

    • Blueberry01

      Well said, Kay. As a high school educator I can definitely attest to the lack of self esteem our young people have. We must break the cycle….

      • kay

        Than you, yes I am also a teacher but in after-school enrichment and performing arts. We have to make it a priority keep our children active and engaged in activities We also have to hold parents accountable and not allow them always have an excuse as to why their children are running the streets, misbehaving in school, its time to really be honest and get real. No more blame game we know the problem lets start looking for an solution..

      • kay

        Than you, yes I am also a teacher but in after-school enrichment and performing arts. We have to make it a priority keep our children active and engaged in activities We also have to hold parents accountable and not allow them always have an excuse as to why their children are running the streets, misbehaving in school, its time to really be honest and get real. No more blame game we know the problem lets start looking for an solution..

    • Natasha T

      So co-signing with you 100%.

  • Natasha T

    I went to elementary school with the daughter who was killed in 2000 and I went to high school with the son who was killed outside of Jones College Prep High School back in ’95, I didn’t know the last 2 brothers and my heart breaks for this mother who has to bury all 4 of her kids due to this senseless violence here. This is why my family and I are moving to Scottsdale, AZ this summer, may not be safest city in the world, but we won’t have to put up with the high taxes, corrupt politicians, gang violence and high a$$ rent!

  • guest5

    Goodness gracious! Is it a law in CHI that every person must own a gun? Texas probably has more guns than a few states put together but I’m constantly hearing about gun violence in CHI vs a huge state like TX. What’s going on in CHI?

    Everyone is calling for Obama since it is his home state but what are state and local officals doing to help its people? A speech alone from Obama can’t automatically help CHI. People in communities have to say enough is ENOUGH and get ish done! There is power in numbers people! Quit waiting on the next Martin L. King Jr. or Malcolm X and get more involved in changing your communities!

    • Michiko

      This isn’t about gun ownership. This is about violence caused by gangs, drug wars, other criminal activity, and poverty.

      • guest5

        I know that! Not looking for a debate on gun control. Chill out. Just don’t quite understand the amount of violence compared to a state that probably has twice the guns but yet don’t experience the same amount of violence when comparing population. Other places have poverty and gangs too but don’t have nearly the amount of gun violence as CHI.

        There has to be some additional factors as to why there is so much violence in CHI. Just raising that question. Whether the gov’t takes away or regulates guns..there will always be gun violence. I don’t have a strong opinion either way on gun ownership. My question is why aren’t people within the communities doing more to help cut down on these events?

        • Michiko

          I wasn’t looking for a debate about gun control either. Maybe you need to ‘chill out’. People who own guns in Texas probably don’t own guns for the same reasons people in Chicago do.

          • guest5

            Umm ok. Your point is? There are not many reasons people own guns: for protection, to hunt, collect them, shoot for sport or conduct criminal activity. Those reasons are true for every state so there has to be some additional factors that contribute to the violence in CHI is all that i’m saying. The statement “People who own guns in Texas probably don’t own guns for the same reasons people in Chicago do.” alone doesn’t explain what is occuring.

            • Michiko

              What is my point? I am responding to your comments. What is your deal?
              ____________________________________________________________________
              I’ve already told you that poverty is one reason for the violence in Chicago. In fact, I think most people understand that poverty is a huge factor.
              ____________________________________________________________________
              My statement about gun ownership between Chicago and Texas wasn’t meant to explain the reason for the violence in Chicago. It was in response to you saying, “Just don’t quite understand the amount of violence compared to a state that probably has twice the guns but yet don’t experience the same amount of violence when comparing population.”

              • guest5

                No deal. Just trying to get a better understanding of the situation. Understand that it has a lot to do with poverty but according to several reports and stats…CHI is not in the top 10 when it comes to being one of the poorest major cities in the U.S. so it would seem some other additional issues exist that are leading to violence at a high rate. Detroit tops the list but still lower than CHI

  • http://www.facebook.com/minister.scottpate Minister Tonja Scott-Pate

    What she did wrong? I think it was not to leave Chicago a long time ago. I moved my children from Illinois 19 years ago. I saw some things that I was very concerned about happening in my hometown. So, I moved to a quieter place. Both of my children have reached their 30′s and I have some wonderful grandchildren from them. I am so grateful for the discernment to get away from the city I was in.

    • Michiko

      She more than likely didn’t have the means to move away from Chicago. It is not wrong that she did not move. It is wrong that people have little regard for the lives of others.

    • York

      I can’t judge her, but I do feel that as a mother, she shouldn’t have stuck around that long. She should have done everything in her power to save her remaining children.

    • Naija81

      I was thinking the same exact thing. My father has four children–including myself–and our neighborhood started getting more and more violent. When the violence knocked at our door one day trying to break into our home, my dad decided we needed to go. We were gone within a few weeks time. Yes, means is a factor in this situation. I acknowledge that privilege. My parents weren’t rich–my mom a hairstylist and my dad a taxi cab driver. However, their dual incomes created the means towards the end. Thus, furthering the point that’s been stated about the importance of marriage for socioeconomic development.

  • shame on you

    somethings never change….black are killing each other everyday….for what ?

  • Meyaka

    I am very spry for her loss, I don’t know hat to say…

  • bluekissess

    What do I think? Personally, I think this horrific thing was planed. I think it’s gen ocide. And James Madison (a former sla ve owner) knew exactly what he was doing with this second amendment. It’s hard to get a job but easy to get a gun? Someone has to be the blame right? Why not blame each other (black on black crime). I honestly can’t imagine how the mother feels. I did shed a tear while reading this story. What can be done? Listening to Chicago. They’re crying out for help. If the President doesn’t see about his city I will look at him with a side eye.

  • MLS2698

    Seriously, I think all of this woman’s children were in a gang. We know ” Ronnie ” was a former member, so the others were too. Just the truth…….sorry.

    • mac

      sadly, I think you may be right. To lose all 4 kids by chance to gun violence would just be too random.

      Plus, all it takes is one member of the family to be in a gang and the whole family’s in danger.

  • GeekMommaRants

    My community cannot be safe and secure. We cannot build families in a war zone. This is not possible. To lose four children within our community is a disgrace.

  • Michiko

    Praying to your deity won’t bring back this woman’s children. And, it doesn’t matter what President Obama ‘speaks’ on, because the people who have the guns and are doing the killings are those who possess the guns illegally.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1438551270 Jessica Lucinda Williams

    my heart is very heavy right now. i can not imagine the pain this lady is suffering right now.

  • Charla

    May she find comfort and peace amongst her tragedies. SN: People in these high crime areas need report the crime and work with authorities. If someone is selling drugs on the corner, call the police. Someone doing drugs in the apt building, call the police. People know who the criminals and gang members are. Things are never going to get better while people are complacent with high crime.

    • Guest

      What happens when the authorities are just as crooked as the criminals? Then who should they turn to?

      • Charla

        Everyone is not corrupt and assuming so it’s just giving up on their community. Making a call to the police from a pay phone wont hurt. Accepting life as is because you think no one is going to do anything is the exact reason why those communities are the way they are.

    • http://www.facebook.com/nikia.dshiznit Nikia D-Shiznit

      Will authorities provide protection for families that do cooperate from gangs looking to retaliate?

      • Charla

        I’m not going to pretend I know what it’s like to grow up in those types of area but again -continuing to make excuses on why people shouldn’t report crime will change nothing. Are there no pay phones to call annoymously? Does the post office not work to mail in a letter? Sure they do but many people in those communities are content with the way they live so they won’t bother.

        • Michiko

          One would be hard pressed to find a pay phone nowadays.

          • Charla

            Yes, more excuses.

            • Michiko

              Next time you are out and about, count how many pay phones you see. But what I am talking about is just a small issue.

              • Charla

                I went to the library two days ago and saw many. Maybe you don’t go there?

                • Michiko

                  There is no need for you to try and take personal jabs at me. Stick to the discussion at hand. If you must know, I am actually quite a frequent visitor at the public library. Sure, I have seen a pay phone there. But all of that is immaterial. I sincerely doubt that people who are living in high crime, poverty stricken areas think about traveling to their local library and reporting a crime from a pay phone.

                  • Charla

                    You told me to drive around so I told you there are pay phones at the library. Nothing wrong with that. But you are right in that most of those residents wouldn’t be bothered with tracking a pay phone down to make a call so outsiders shouldn’t be bothered with trying to help them.

                    • Michiko

                      I didn’t tell you to drive around. I said, “Next time you are out and about, count how many pay phones you see.”

      • guest5

        Agree. I do think that communities can’t continue to remain silent about things but there has to be a large support of people who would be willing to tell. That sadly hardly ever happens b/c people are scared. I don’t blame them either. People today will kill you over the simpliest things so they probably wouldn’t hesitate in killing someone who could potentially put them in jail for a very long time by telling on them.

        • chanela

          right! i believe a few years ago a 16 year old girl got killed for not giving some man her phone number. SMH

  • http://twitter.com/MsRedboneBrite Tee Elyse

    WOW!! So sad for a mother to have to bury all four of her children!! It’s a dirty, dirty world that we live in! Prayers up for that entire family, this is so heartbreaking!

  • Nene

    I lost friends to this mess we got going on here in Chicago. They tore down those projects and displaced all those people who were content where they were. Now the crime is sky high. The city disperse the people in the projects thinking they were going to get the olympics for 2016 and lost to rio de janeiro haha lol. Karma is a bit$h tho. God don’t like ugly, even though I do believe they should have tore down the projects years ago. It’s not what they did but how they did it. A lot of people ended up in the shelters and on the streets before CHA’s big plans for transformation aka plans to get the negros out the city happened. They also doing away with affordable housing. The city of Chicago think they slick. This is sad r.i.p. to the victims.

    • http://www.facebook.com/minister.scottpate Minister Tonja Scott-Pate

      It has more to do with the self respect in ones character, not just where they live. Our young people have to learn to respect one another and the value of life.
      Many young folk today think they are invincible; that goes for black and white youth. They will kill just as sure as look at you. They have NO respect for themselves or anyone else. They are only doing Satan’s work for him: KILL, STEAL AND DESTROY!

    • Melissa Ford Smith

      Yeah they tore down the projects now the animals have moved into what used to be good neighborhoods. Last year the built a condo right next door to my home. It was beautiful. Let let some people who don’t care in and I wish I could post a picture of what it looks like now. My home value has sunk and not just because of the real estate crash

  • Nene

    People don’t value human life anymore. We are living in revelations though so this kind of stuff is not new nor will it stop anytime soon. After the second child got shot and killed I would have moved out of Chicago. When my kid becomes a teenager I’m moving back out of Chicago. I wonder will the crime stop before the Obamas come back to Chicago?

    • Michiko

      I am willing to bet that most of the residents in the high crime areas of Chicago don’t have to ability to move.

    • Na Na

      That’s just like Hurricane HKatrina people kept screaming they were so dumb because they knew the storm was coming. Well when you don’t get paid until next week and don’t have a savings account or trust fund its nearly impossible to pack up and go. Go where? Forget economics think about education. Some people do not have the know how to move from one city to the next and find public services, navigate a new town oh speaking of navigation you need a car or truck to move! There are so many variables to “just packing up and moving” that its not always an option.

      • Michiko

        Funny you mention this, because the weekend before last I watched a documentary on Netflix about a couple in NO who couldn’t leave the city because they did not have the means to do so.

  • JaneDoe

    All four kids.. My goodness I would be in an institution. God give her strength

  • kierah

    I pray this woman finds comfort and strength in the days ahead. Sorry for her loss.

    • KIR12

      At what point are black folks (MEN and women) going to realize that you can not have a productive community without men in the home? It can not be done.

      This violence, poverty and dropout rate is the end result of Black Matriarchy and Black Feminism. Black folks trying to live up to the failed ideology devaluing the importance of men in the home of thier extreme left white llberal gods and feminist who are pushing this ” New Familial Structure” (one woman, two men two women) etc.

      Funny thing is white feminist and liberals are going to communities full on men in the homes. While their devaluing marriage for black folks their pushing marriage for gays. Weird! With friends like that you don’t need enemies. You’re destroying yourselves.

      • Guest

        You just copy and paste the same nonsense on every article.

        • KIR12

          I just wrote that! lol And, it’s the truth! Do you disagree?

          • Na Na

            I am a woman but more importantly I’m from Chicago, live 5 minutes from where he was killed. And yes KIR12 you are correct! Its too much to breakdown the socioeconomic results of a missing father in this little post but its deafinitely traumatic and we are suffering at the hands of it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nikia.dshiznit Nikia D-Shiznit

        Black women are responsible for black men being uneducated, jailed, deadbeat dads? Last time I checked, these are all choices. In your failed attempt to throw black women under the bus, you acknowledge black men have done a serious disservice to their communities by being absent. Those liberal/whites, whatever you want to call them, preach whatever they want, but the men involved raise their kids, have family structure, educate themselves, etc. What’s black men excuse for being in the same boat as far as the women go, but being a failure as the end result?

        • KIR12

          If she was married to him and he abandoned his family he is absolutely a bum and deadbeat dad. The kids who are terrorizing thee black community are black baby mama kids! These women are having kids for bums and men who have made absolutely no commitment to them. Who in their right mind had a kid for a bum and then expects him to then become responsible after the fact?

          • Michiko

            Why are so many Black men bums? The ‘black baby mama kids’ are the kids of Black baby fathers.

            • KIR12

              tory. What happened to the black man and the black family? Social engineering of white liberals. I suggest you read an article 40 years if lies. The black family.

              This baby mama and bums is a recent phenomenon. From the end of slavery until 1920 the black out-of-wedlock birth ratio was about 10 percent. From 1920 until 1960 (40 Years) this ratio went up to 20 percent. In 1970, (10 years) the ratio went up 18% to 38 percent. In 1980, (10 years) it went up another 17% to 55 percent. In 1990, it was 67. Today it’s 72%+. There is much historical documented data that shows the black man didn’t always abandon the the black woman. As a matter of fact, there were some decades between 1900 to 1960 that show the black woman married at a higher percentage than white women. We also know that up until 1960 almost every black kid had a father in the home.These are facts not pie in the sky revisionist history

              • Michiko

                Your response does not, at all address what I asked or said to you.

                • KIR12

                  I already did. A man us not going to stay with a woman he never made a commitment to and doesn’t care about. If the man doesn’t love the woman there’s a 50% chance held not going to love the child. That’s why you have so many kids who havent seen their father in months, years or don’t know their father.

                  • Michiko

                    You STILL haven’t addressed the question I asked or what I said.

                    What I asked was – Why are so many Black men bums?

                    What I said was – The ‘black baby mama kids’ are the kids of Black baby fathers.

                    • KIR12

                      No I’m not saying what YOU want to hear. They are bums because their is no man in the home to teach them how to be a man. Men are not born MEN are MADE.

                    • Naija81

                      Give it a rest. KIR12 is hitting nail on the head. Maybe you don’t want to hear it, but what he is saying is truth. His initial comment seemed more troll-like than social fodder, but his subsequent comments have proven his point. A point that really needs to be taken seriously in our community. Our existence, literally and figuratively, is at stake.

      • JaneDoe

        I wish all the black men making babies outside of wedlock and are not present in their child’s life can read this.. Damn what most would say I agree with you. That is the root of the problem.

      • B

        I say the safest bet is to flee, if possible, because the black “community died a long time ago.