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Halloween mass shooting victims in Chicago struggle to heal, call for more support

Rosemary Sobol and Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Patterson wondered how her daughter will ever put the tragedy behind her.

“I don’t know,” Patterson said. “I think about it every day.”

The woman who orchestrated the vigil that night, Cherice Patterson, said the family has recently organized a GoFundMe account, which as of Nov. 23 had raised $5,281 of a $100,000 goal. The shooting victims are mostly close-knit family and friends.

According to Patterson, who was also shot in the attack, the last two people to be released from hospitals, Conttina Phillips-Patterson, 48, and Lakita Kent, 34, returned home Nov. 15.

When the shooting began, Kent, who wasn’t shot, ducked between two cars. “One car took off and dragged me up the street,” she said.

“I don’t have any broken bones or anything. I had a skin graft because of my wrists and hands — they were scraped really bad when I was dragged,” said Kent.

What happened next is blurry but Kent believes she was still conscious, and she tried to sit up.

“I noticed my breathing was off track so I laid back down and some people came and helped me get off the street until an ambulance came and took me to Stroger,” Kent said.

Reflecting on the ordeal, Kent has decided against balloon releases or similar events in the future. “I decided not to go see any visuals.”

For Conttina Phillips-Patterson, who is still raw after losing her two sons in a fiery car crash on Chicago’s Near West Side in June 2019, the whole situation has made her realize how lucky she is to be alive.

“I’m trying. I’m trying. I’m doing OK — I got home,” Phillips said. “I was in there 15 days — but oh yes, glad to be here.”

Phillips, who is Cherice Patterson’s sister, said she underwent multiple surgeries and skin grafts on her left leg. A bullet damaged nerves and broke a bone, and she won’t be able to work for months, she said.

“I’m not able to lift my feet up. I can press down on a car’s gas pedal but can’t lift it off,” she said. “I’m just praying that I’ll get able to get that nerve going.”

At Tuesday’s “peace circle,” Phillips-Patterson wore a hospital bracelet around her wrist. A sprawling brace covered her whole leg. She walked with crutches and her sister limped.

 

The victims talked about where bullets landed: a hip, a leg. And most devastatingly, a child. They dried tears and pointed out that they haven’t gotten significant support, despite politicians and reporters initially showing up.

The Patterson family’s GoFundMe has raised almost no money. Having to ask for donations to get needed medical and psychological support after a shooting that they still don’t know the reason for is frustrating, they said.

Support for victims hasn’t meaningfully materialized, a failure that leaders and institutions across the city are responsible for, said Cornelius Parks, pastor of the Good Hope Freewill Baptist Church that hosted the discussion.

“You can offer resources and try to force (victims) to come and get them. But what about you coming to them where they’re at?” he asked. “They try to make it seem like this is normal in this community. It’s not normal for a mass shooting to take place of this magnitude.”

The response to the mass shooting has been strikingly different from the outpouring of deserved support after the Highland Park mass shooting, said Terry Young, vice president of the Black Men United anti-violence organization.

“They didn’t ask people what they needed. They came and provided everything for them,” he said.

Victims called for psychologists for their kids and public donations. Several said they want to see the person or people who shot them be punished.

Compared with the $100,000 reward offered by the construction team to find the person who placed a noose at the Obama Presidential Center, the $15,000 reward police are offering for the mass shooter is insufficient, Cherice Patterson said.

“I haven’t spoken with police. I haven’t heard a word. My family hasn’t heard anything,” she said. “I feel like this is being swept under the rug.”

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TO HELP

The Patterson family’s GoFundMe, which family members said will be shared among shooting victims, is at www.gofundme.com/f/the-patterson-family-fundraiser-healing-process.

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©2022 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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