Danielle Moore-Willis didn’t hesitate when she heard gunfire and shouts outside her Englewood home late Monday night. She quickly dressed and ran out to help.
There, under the yellow light of a street lamp, lay a man bleeding.
“It’s as if time stood still. It was only a couple people and they were talking to him, trying to keep him alert,” she said. “I knew he was bleeding from somewhere, I didn’t know where and I couldn’t figure it out. And he was breathing. . . I remember somebody talking to me and it’s just like a blur, it’s like it’s surreal. It’s surreal.”
Moore-Willis, trained in CPR, dropped to her knees and pumped the man’s chest. She yelled for help. She breathed into his mouth. A police SUV pulled up next to her, two officers inside. An ambulance a few seconds later.
Moore-Willis emerged from the parkway, covered in the man’s blood, as paramedics started to treat him. He wasn’t talking, wasn’t moving much and he struggled to breathe.
“I broke down hysterically because I had this overwhelming sense of guilt, like, I hope my efforts were enough,” she said. Police said the man, 25 years old, was taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.
The man was one of the last victims of a Memorial Day weekend in Chicago that saw 12 people killed and 44 people wounded, a toll only slightly higher than the previous weekend in the city.
Compared to the same period in 2013, shootings this year are up by about 24 percent and homicides are up by about 18 percent, police department statistics show.
The most violent neighborhood this past weekend was Englewood, where 12 people were shot between Friday and Monday.
Moore-Willis lives on a stretch of Normal Avenue in Englewood immortalized by Chicago rappers who spelled the street backwards to identify their faction of Black Disciples. Tucked behind Saint Bernard Hospital and Healthcare Center, the block is marked with gang letters B and D inside Stars of David drawn on light poles.
Looming over Normal Avenue is the Englewood Terrace Apartment complex where Moore-Willis grew up in. The neighborhood has been her home except for the time she lived with her husband while he was in the Army.
Moore-Willis is a former daycare worker who is active in ministry groups that work to curb violence. Her work brings her into close contact with the families of gunshot victims.
“But you can never get used to this, at all,” she said. “You know, you can’t.”
She calls Chicago her Ninevah where, according to the Bible, God sent Jonah to rid the city of its wickedness.
Source: Chicago Tribune | Peter Nickeas and Deanese Williams-Harris