7-year-old girl fatally shot in Austin neighborhood
BY HUNTER CLAUSS AND DIANA NOVAK Staff Reporters June 28, 2012 12:08AM
Heaven Sutton, 7, with her mother, Ashake Banks / Photo provided by Ashake Banks.
Updated: June 28, 2012 8:56AM
After several shootings in her West Side neighborhood, Heaven Sutton had begged her mother to move.
The 7-year-old looked forward to escaping on a family vacation to Disney World next month.
On Wednesday night, just after getting her hair styled for the trip, Heaven was gunned down in front of her home and mother.
“She’d been looking forward to it, and they took my baby’s life,” said Heaven’s mother, Ashake Banks, 38.
Police said the youngster was murdered after two men approached a group of people in the 1700 block of North Luna about 10:40 p.m. and open fired. A 19-year-old man also was shot.
Paramedics took Heaven in critical condition to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where she was later pronounced dead, officials said.
The other victim was listed in good condition at Loyola with a gunshot wound to his ankle.
Outside Loyola, Banks told the Chicago Sun-Times she was finishing up with the day’s work selling candy under a canopy in her front yard when the shooting happened.
Heaven was playing with other children outside when Banks said she heard five or six shots and hit the ground. Heaven ran toward the house. Banks said she believes her daughter was shot as she ran.
Banks, who has three older children, boys aged 11, 15 and 18, said she thinks the shooting was gang-related and that the intended target was someone nearby.
Heaven asked her mom if they could move because she was worried about all the shootings in the Austin neighborhood, Banks recalled.
“She had been telling me ‘mom, let’s move, let’s get out,’” Banks said.
Heaven was going to be a second-grader at Josephine Locke Elementary School and Banks described her as a “diva” who loved fashion and high heels.
“It is senseless,” said Banks about her daughter’s death.
Banks added she is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to arrest of the shooters.
Contributing, Victoria Johnson