Three children among 14 people who were shot and survived Halloween night are moving on with their lives, completing schoolwork, attending day care and even celebrating a 12th birthday nearly a month after the West Side mass shooting, relatives said.
The mothers of the three: an 11-year-old girl and brothers who are 3 and 13, shared the heartbreaking details with the Tribune as they begin the long process to rebuild their lives.
Meanwhile, the rest of the survivors, including a woman who was hit by a car while fleeing the hail of gunfire, have been released from hospitals and are facing time off work, doctor bills and seemingly endless rehab appointments.
At a “healing discussion” Tuesday, many of the victims said they haven’t gotten meaningful help to address their physical and emotional trauma. They called for more community support and asked people to donate to their GoFundMe, which has received few donations.
Pierre Riley, died of gunshot wounds suffered in the attack, which police said remains an open case with no arrests.
The brothers, 13-year-old Demetrius and 3-year-old Demyan, don’t talk much about the shooting at California Avenue and Polk Street, which began as a family gathering and balloon release for close family friend, Shakia Lucas, who died suddenly after complications from a surgery.
The boys were both shot in their right legs.
“They’re doing better,” said their mom, Shamikis Patterson.
Demetrius has been studying from home and keeping up with his eighth grade classwork while Demyan is a “very, very busy 3-year-old” who is back in day care after missing his friends but is still frightened to go outside, Patterson said. “He’s really afraid and he doesn’t want to leave the house.”
Demetrius isn’t able to go to school yet because he can’t feel his leg or foot.
“He can’t keep his balance — he’s walking on a walker,” said Patterson. “They do say he will fully recover but it’s so frustrating because they’re so young.”
The boys “had a fantastic time” at a birthday party this month for their friend, the 11-year-old girl who was also shot during the attack, their mom said. Originally, Demyan was cautious about attending.
“He kept saying, ‘I don’t want to go near the fireworks.’ He doesn’t understand that they weren’t fireworks at all,’ ’’ Patterson said.
The on-the-go toddler was in his mother’s arms when the attack happened. They “dropped to the ground” and Patterson pulled him under the wheels of a nearby car to take cover as sparks flew.
That’s when a bullet apparently ricocheted off a bag she was wearing and into Demyan’s calf. Patterson wasn’t shot.
Numb with fear, she passed the toddler to her sister but then found out Demetrius was also among the victims.