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Mom Seeking Answers In Son’s 2009 Murder

Deontae Smith

Deontae Smith was shot and killed when a fight broke out at a block party on Aug. 1, 2009. (Credit: Family Handout)

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CHICAGO (CBS 2) – A Chicago mother was going door-to-door in the Englewood neighborhood Saturday, hoping to find justice for her son who was gunned down more than a year ago.

CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports that Cook County Crime Stoppers has joined Tonya Burch on her campaign to find her son’s killer.

“We’re just passing out fliers; just trying to get information on my son’s death,” Tonya Burch said to a Englewood homeowner.

It’s been more than a year since Deontae Smith was gunned down in the community.

“If you hear anything, give me a call,” Burch asked a neighborhood teen.

Smith’s mother wasn’t giving up hope that her son’s killer will be found.

On August 1, 2009, Smith was leaving a block party here at 61st and Green, when two girls were arguing. A fight started, then someone started shooting and Smith was shot in the back.

He ran for a block before collapsing and dying at the intersection of Peoria and 61st Street. Burch said there were between 100 and 200 people outside when her son was shot.

“No one; no one has come forward,” Burch said.

She was joined by members of Cook County Crime Stoppers as she went door-to-door in Englewood.

Burch said she had one hope as she peppered the community with fliers about her son’s death and reward information.

“That someone will take the initiative and not be a coward and come forward; because being silent, you’re being a coward,” she said.

Burch has waged a more than yearlong campaign for justice. Her 19-year-old son’s picture has been on South Side billboards, mentioning a $10,000 reward.

Cook County Crime Stoppers is also offering $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

“We don’t want to know your name. We’ll give you a code number, but give us that information, we’ll tell the police,” said Crime Stoppers Chairman George McDade.

Smith had just started college. He dreamed of being in the Air Force.

The day he was killed, he got a call to schedule an interview with the Air Force two days later.

“I feel like if that person killed once, he will kill again and it might not be someone on the street. It might be someone that you love,” Burch said.

Some of the volunteers taking part in Saturday’s flier campaign have lost loved ones through violence.