Reporting Dorothy Tucker
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UPDATED 06/28/12 – 2:29 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said police have very good leads in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl overnight, and he expects an arrest soon.
Heaven Sutton, 7, wanted to move because she was scared of shootings around her North Austin neighborhood home. Now, police are searching for two men who opened fire at a group of people Wednesday night, and took Heaven’s life.
Asked if he could say what he knows about the investigation on Thursday, McCarthy said, “The answer to your question, technically, is no. I can’t tell you what I know. What I can tell you is this: We have incredibly strong leads on this case, and I anticipate a very, very, very, very quick turnaround, and an arrest on what we saw last night.”
McCarthy says police efforts to reduce gang violence are having an effect, but will take time – admittedly no solace for Heaven’s family.
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CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports the area around Luna and Wabansia avenues was flooded by police officers and detectives Thursday morning, hours after Heaven was killed.
Heaven and her family had moved to the neighborhood just six months earlier. Her mother, Ashake Banks, said the family was planning to move again soon because of all the violence.
This particular week, Heaven was looking forward to escaping the neighborhood with a trip to Disney World next month. She had just gotten her hair styled for the trip Wednesday, when the shots rang out around 10:40 p.m. in front of her home in the 1700 block of North Luna Avenue.
Police say two men walked up to the group and opened fire as her she stood outside selling candy and snacks outside her home with her family. Heaven’s mother, Ashake Banks, ran the candy store for neighborhood kids under a canopy in front of the building where they lived, with the goal of keeping them out of trouble.
“I had just called Heaven. She was sitting right next to me on my shoulder. Just laying on my shoulder,” Banks said with a painful sigh.
Banks, 38, was watching helplessly as the little girl was gunned down.
“She was lying in the hallway unconscious,” Banks said. “I just want to say this here. You all can’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep. I’ll sleep when I die. And you all cannot just get away with killing my baby. You all took her life. She just got her hair did today. She was going to Disney World.”
Heaven was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:16 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
The shooting also wounded a 19-year-old man in the ankle.
Members of the community came together Thursday to pray with Heaven’s family. They offered a $3,000 reward for information that leads to the killer.
Banks said she will miss Heaven “sleeping with me, her eating all the candy, her running in my house – it’s everything. She did so much. She sang, she danced, she dressed, she smiled. She was just everything to everybody.”
Heaven was going into the second grade at Josephine Locke Elementary School.
“She was a diva at 7. She liked fashion. She loved expensive clothes. She liked to get her nails done; her hair done. Everybody knew her. There’s nothing else I really can say, because everybody knew her,” Banks said. “I just want him to come and just turn himself in, because I’m not going to sleep.”
Banks described the horrific sight of seeing her young daughter lying dead.
“For her to die like this – 7 years old, lying on a slab cold, her eyes just open, blood coming out her nose – I just want him to turn himself in. That’s all that I ask of him. And I’m asking for Chicago to help me,” she said.
Banks reiterated more than once that she wants the killer caught.
“I’ve got blood and stuff all over my clothes,” she said. “It’s tragic. I want this off, you know, he shouldn’t rest. He shouldn’t be at peace. He shouldn’t be happy.”
Some neighbors blame Heaven’s shooting on an ongoing gang war in the community. That was enough to infuriate Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who took direct aim at the gunman as he addressed the shooting Thursday.
“You’re a member of a gang coming to get lemonade and another gang member is driving by? It’s not about crime. It’s about values. Where were you raised, and who raised you?” the mayor said. “Stay away from the kids.”