CHICAGO --A young mother of two was shot to death on her son's 5th birthday on Chicago's South Side. The 23-year-old woman's family identified her as Africa Bass.
"What do I say to my nephew? I can't. My nephew is always going to remember that. His mama died on his birthday. You can't forget that," said Jovanna Jones, Bass' sister, as tears streamed down her face.
Police said she was walking in the 8700-block of South Burley Avenue around 12:05 a.m. Wednesday when someone in a black SUV shot her in the back. Her aunt, Sade Wilson, was walking with her through the Germano Millgate Apartments when she was shot. She said Bass was also shot in the chest.
"The shots came and we started running. She turned around like, 'Sade, I'm hit,' and she just hit the floor. She was just squeezing my hand... My niece don't' do nothing," Wilson said, sobbing.
Bass was rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Neighbors who did not want to go on camera said Bass was an innocent victim caught in the middle of gang retaliation. They also said the intended target, who lives in the complex, apparently had minor injuries to his hand.
"It's time for everybody in America to wake up. This **** is over. Whatever you're trying to accomplish, let it go. Let it go," said Sheila Jones, Bass' mother.
Bass moved from the Roseland neighborhood to the South Chicago neighborhood hours before she was killed, her family said. They can't understand why this happened to her.
"Her little thing was tough love. Her little thing was tough love because she always spoke her mind. Whether nobody liked it or not, she was going to say it," Jovanna Jones said.
"Who would do this to my baby? When is it going to stop? When is it going to stop? Y'all done killed something very special to me. Very special," Sheila Jones said, devastated.
Bass is also survived by her 2-year-old daughter. Her family said Bass worked at a Walmart in the south suburbs.
Police said Wednesday morning that they had a possible suspect in custody. As of 11:30 a.m., that was no longer the case.
Investigators are working to determine what led up to the shooting.
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