Pregnant teen gunned down, baby ‘fighting for his life’
BY KIM JANSSEN AND MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporters August 17, 2011 5:36AM
Charinez Jefferson a pregnant 17-year-old girl died after she was shot in the head and critically wounded Tuesday night in the Southwest Side Marquette Park neighborhood, but her baby boy survived the attack. Charinez was pronounced dead at 11:11 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn after suffering multiple gunshot wounds at 64th and Whipple streets, Wednesday, August 17 , 2011. | John H. White~Sun-Times.
Updated: November 3, 2011 9:43AM
Charinez Jefferson will never know she had a baby boy Tuesday.
Her son will never know her.
The 17-year-old mom — six months pregnant and looking forward to learning her unborn child’s sex during an ultrasound exam Thursday — didn’t live long enough.
Gunned down by a shooter who jumped from a passing car as she walked home from a convenience store in the Marquette Park neighborhood Tuesday night, Charinez was declared dead within 45 minutes.
Doctors at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn couldn’t save her, but performed an emergency C-section to safely deliver her tiny son.
The as-yet unnamed, prematurely-born boy is “fighting for his life right now,” Charinez’s mother Debbie Jefferson said Wednesday as family members mourned, searched for answers and prayed for the child and his 1-year-old big brother. The baby was in stable condition, authorities said.
Charinez had just run into a friend of her boyfriend’s and was walking home from a store on 63rd St. when the gunman exited a car and shot her, her mother said.
Witnesses who were in a group with Charinez ran for their lives when the gunman opened fire around 10:35 p.m. in the 3000 block of West 64th Street.
Her companions returned to find her lying wounded on the ground and called for help, Chicago Police spokesman Ron Gaines said. Police had not made any arrests Wednesday night.
Charinez’s family believe she was not targeted and was simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” but sources said she was shot at least three times in the heart, once in the foot and once in the back of the head.
And witnesses told her mother she begged, “Please don’t kill me,” before she was shot, Debbie Jefferson said.
Charinez’s best friend Khadijah Johnson, 18, had just seen Charinez from her car and was driving around the block to meet her when she heard the fatal shots ring out.
“We were planning a surprise baby shower for her at the youth club,” Johnson said as she walked in a daze near the murder scene Wednesday afternoon. “She was so excited about the baby.”
Christ Hospital spokesman Mike Maggio said the child was delivered via a perimortum C-section — a four-minute procedure that is done when the mother is near death or deceased.
Charinez had already proved herself “a wonderful mother” to her first son, Kamarrea, her mother said.
A student at the Banner School in the Princeton Park neighborhood — where shocked principal Gwen Rollins described her as “a model student” — she hoped to attend cosmetology school and become a hairdresser. Girlfriends said she was at her happiest painting their nails with varnish from her collection of dozens of colors.
“We’re praying for both her children right now, because her son wants to know where his mom is, he’s going to need some real understanding,” Jefferson said.
Contributing: Victoria Johnson and LeeAnn Shelton