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Anti-Violence Activist Shocked, Furious After Cousin, 13, Is Struck By Stray Bullet In North Lawndale

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There is a sad twist in the shooting this past weekend that injured at 13-year-old girl in the North Lawndale community.

The girl's cousin has fought for years to prevent violence like the attack on Homan Avenue near 16th Street on Sunday.

CBS 2's Steven Graves talked Monday with Derek Brown, who is trying to figure out what can be done.

For more than a decade, Brown has used boxing with his "Boxing out Negativity" program to curb violence in his neighborhood.

"Here in North Lawndale, it's like we're living under siege," Brown said.

Derek Brown
Activist Derek Brown is furious and shocked after his 13-year-old cousin, Brianna Garmon, was shot and wounded in North Lawndale. (Credit: CBS 2)

It is an uphill battle he saw getting better – but now, it hits close to home. One of the latest victims is his cousin, 13-year-old Brianna Garmon.

"When I found out it was my cousin, I'm shocked, like, oh my goodness!" Brown said. "Out of all this work that we're out here doing, and still, things like this can happen."

Brianna Garmon
Brianna Garmon was struck by a stray bullet in North Lawndale on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. (Family Photo)

Brown is very familiar with the area on South Homan Avenue where police sources said Brianna was randomly struck in the middle of a gang-related shooting around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Brown said his cousin was walking to buy food at a nearby store when the bullet pierced her abdomen twice. She was coming from a homeless shelter where her family stayed.

"They were trying to seek help on housing, so they were trying to find somewhere safe," Brown said.

It's news that frustrates Brown, a former gang member turned community activist, who said this proves more needs to be done.

"My biggest fear of moving forward is that we will get the same results if grassroots programs do not get the recognition, the notification, the funding, the resources to provide to the needy – and something like this tragically happens to somebody else's family," Brown said.

Brianna was rushed to Stroger Hospital of Cook County after the shooting. Brown said Brianna is recovering and talking to her mother, and that both are terrified.

When asked if anyone was in custody in the shooting late Monday, police said they continued to investigate.

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