Hundreds Gather Together at Living Word Christian Center Church in Chicago to Mourn the Tragic Death of 11-Year-Old Shamiya Adams

Shaneetha Goodloe (sitting, center) wipes away tears as mourners cheer the words of a pastor during the funeral for Goodloe's 11-year-old daughter, Shamiya Adams, during Shamiya's funeral. — John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune, July 26, 2014
Shaneetha Goodloe (sitting, center) wipes away tears as mourners cheer the words of a pastor during the funeral for Goodloe’s 11-year-old daughter, Shamiya Adams, during Shamiya’s funeral. — John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune, July 26, 2014

Hundreds gathered Saturday at a west suburban church — young and old, friends and dignitaries, family and strangers — to mourn a little girl who fell victim to Chicago’s streets even while staying off them.

Shamiya Adams, the 11-year-old fatally shot July 18 as she made s’mores at a West Side sleepover, was remembered for her love of dancing, loyal friendship and complete innocence. She was inside a friend’s East Garfield Park home when a bullet entered through an open window, went through a wall and struck her head that evening. Shamiya died the next day.

At vigils outside the crime scene last weekend, community members challenged themselves to do better and stop the bloodshed in a city with hundreds of homicides each year.

In the hours before mourners gathered for Shamiya’s funeral at Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park, bullets again hit some of Chicago’s youngest residents.

A 3-year-old boy was critically injured in a shooting Friday night on the Southwest Side, authorities said. Hours earlier, a 13-year-old boy died when he and several others were struck on the West Side less than two miles from where Shamiya was shot. A witness said the teen, Samuel Walker, was playing tag before the gunfire started.

Shamiya’s funeral honored a young girl dedicated to her family, her studies and her Christian faith. But in memorializing her, speakers also called attention to the endemic gun violence that claimed her life and continues to take others in Chicago.

“What a tragedy it is that our children can’t come together at a slumber party,” said the Rev. Oscar Crear, who gave the eulogy.

“It’s a sad day when our little girls cannot be little girls for fear of stray bullets coming through the window.”

Police have praised the neighborhood’s willingness to provide information about Shamiya’s shooting. Officials said that cooperation helped lead to murder charges against Tevin Lee, the 18-year-old who police and prosecutors say had been aiming at someone else.

Shamiya’s death made national news, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Gov. Pat Quinn were among the public officials who attended the funeral. A representative for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who didn’t attend, read a letter to Shamiya’s family that called the girl “a stellar example of what it means to be a Chicagoan.”

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Source: Chicago Tribune | Mitch Smith

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