Church members hold prayer vigil for 5-year-old shooting victim
By Mike Nolan Sun-Times Media July 7, 2013 9:36PM
Members of The Lighthouse Church in Alsip attend a prayer vigil Sunday outside Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where Jaden Donald, 5, is being treated. | Mike Nolan~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 9, 2013 12:49PM
Jaden Donald thinks he’s Spider-Man, his mom says.
At home, there’s a new pair of pajamas featuring the action hero awaiting the 5-year-old.
But on Sunday, members of the Alsip church he and his family attend were praying for Jaden’s recovery after he was shot early Friday at a South Side park.
Two men who were at the park with Jaden’s family also were wounded in the shooting. A 24-year-old Chicago man was being held without bond in connection with the shooting.
Members of the Lighthouse Church held a prayer vigil for Jaden outside Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. He suffered injuries to a kidney, his spleen and pancreas when a bullet struck him in the lower back, according to Dan Willis, pastor of the church. Another bullet hit him in the leg, authorities said.
Talking to reporters outside the hospital, Jaden’s mother, Jasmine Dillon-Donald, said her son is doing well and his vital signs are encouraging. He is unconscious and on a respirator, Willis said.
The family lives in Chicago’s West Pullman community. They were coming home from a family Fourth of July event when they stopped to talk to friends at Cooper Park, 1331 W. 1117th St. That’s when the shooting occurred.
Dillon-Donald said Jaden was “running around, playing, happy” just before the 12:30 a.m. shooting.
“As much as I keep my kids with me, I never thought” something like this could happen, she said.“It only takes a second.”
Willis said Dillon-Donald told him that just after Jaden was shot, he began having trouble breathing and his mother noticed that his white shorts were stained with blood.
Jaden’s three siblings — ages 6, 7 and 8 — also were at the park when he was shot.
“The family is really surrounding them now because they are very fearful,” Willis said after the vigil.
Darrell Chambers, whom authorities allege is a gang member, used a .40-caliber handgun to fire as he walked toward Cooper Park, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney said during Chambers’ bond hearing Sunday.
Willis decried the gun violence that has killed and wounded so many, saying “it takes all of us, it takes a village” to put an end to it.
“Your child is my child, my child is your child,” he told dozens of Lighthouse parishioners.
Dillon-Donald said she can’t understand how somebody could randomly shoot a gun into a park.
“What makes people think this is OK?” she said.
After the vigil, Willis said he’s a father of four, so the shooting “strikes a chord of passion.”
“There is nothing this child has done to bring this on himself,” he said.
During the prayer vigil. he asked those gathered to “get a prayer through to heaven because that baby needs a miracle.”
Holding his right hand to Dillon-Donald’s forehead, he told parishioners, “We pray for strength for her, we pray for comfort for her.”