Heaven Sutton appeared to be a typical bright-eyed, smiley, seven-year old. Her mother, Ashaka Banks, described her as a “little diva” who loved to have her hair styled and to wear high-heeled shoes. Equally typical was Wednesday, June 28th, the last night of her short life that she spent with her friends playing outside of her home, enjoying a dreamy, warm summer evening. Not typical was the gang-infested Chicago-Austin neighborhood she lived in. At about 10:40 PM as her family was getting ready to go inside an all-too-familiar scene repeated itself. A group of people including Heaven was approached by two gun-bearing thugs who opened fire on them, injuring a nineteen-year old and critically wounding Heaven with a gunshot wound to the chest as she ran toward her house. She later died at Loyola University Medical Center.
After several shootings in her West Side neighborhood, Heaven had begged her mother to move. Ashaka Banks said her daughter’s murder was “senseless” and remembered Heather’s dream of seeing Disney World. Heaven’s dream was snuffed out by two thugs, more than likely on a gang-related mission. How many more children have to die before they have begun to live until we can gain control over the violence riddling many of our city neighborhoods?