Even tiniest Chicagoans caught in gang crossfire

Heaven Sutton
Heaven Sutton
CBS News

(CBS News) CHICAGO - Monday was the 184th day of the year, and in Chicago, the police say, there have already been 240 homicides, including nine over the weekend.

In neighborhoods where gang violence is out of control, it appears no one is safe.

Last Wednesday, seven-year-old Heaven Sutton was selling candy at a stand outside her home on a hot summer night. On Monday, her mother picked out the clothes she'll be buried in on Friday.

"She died in my arms. That's what makes it so bad. She took her last breath in my arms," said Heaven's mom, Ashake Banks.

Flowers and toys are being left where she was shot. According to her uncle Tavares Harrington, Heaven was standing near the intended target -- a teenager -- when the gunman walked up and fired ten times.

"Bullets don't have no names on them and they're just shooting at anybody. Just gotta keep the kids out of the streets," Harrington said.

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Heaven Sutton, 7, seen here with her mother, Ashkae Banks, 38. Personal photo

Two days after her murder, police arrested a 26-year-old alleged gang member for the shooting. Gang violence has piled outrage upon outrage. Two days after heaven died, a three-year-old was shot and wounded and an empty day care center was strafed.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke for many.

"It's not about crime. It's about values. Where were you raised and who raised you? Stay away from the kids," Emanuel said.

Pastor Ira Acree opens his far west side church to youngsters every Friday night and sends them home in vans.

"It's really to the point now that you're not even safe in your own living room because of the gang wars, the drug wars," Acree said.

He points a finger at some of his neighbors.

"You got some family members who are harboring criminals in their households. These are not strangers that are killing people," Acree said.

On Monday afternoon, five feet from where heaven died, her mother was still in shock.

"For me not to be able to call her name...Now I'm calling out her name in nightmares, reaching out to the sky," Ashake Banks said.

Heaven' mother had set up the candy stand to keep her daughter close to home. Now, a collection jar is there to collect money to help pay for Heaven's funeral.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.