A 7-year-old girl was fatally shot Wednesday evening outside her family's home on Chicago's West Side.
Heaven Sutton was playing with friends and helping her mother sell candy and snow cones in front of her family's home around 10:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of North Luna in the city's North Austin neighborhood when two men approached them and opened fire, NBC Chicago reports.
Heaven, who was going to be a second grader in the fall, was struck in the back before being taken to Loyola University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, according to ABC Chicago.
Ashake Banks, Heaven's mother, told ABC that her young daughter had asked if their family could move out of the neighborhood because of gang violence nearby. Banks had planned to move the family within the next month.
Banks told the Chicago Tribune that she opened up the candy stand in her front yard so area youth "wouldn't have to be pulled back and forth on the block because there's been so much shooting."
"She looked forward every day to opening up the candy store, and for somebody just to come take her life, it's not right," Banks told the paper.
A 19-year-old man was also shot in the ankle during the incident and police say he was gang-affiliated, according to the Tribune.
As of Thursday morning, no suspects are in custody in the shooting. Banks is offering a $3,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of her daughter's shooter, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
As the New York Times pointed out on its front page Tuesday, homicides are up 38 percent in Chicago from a year ago, with 66 more deaths as of June 17 than recorded in that same period in 2011, mostly from gunfire.
The gun violence has had a devastating impact on area youth. The number of Chicago Public Schools students shot during the most recent school year is at a four-year high. The violence has prompted the city to enter into a new partnership with the anti-violence group CeaseFire, announced Tuesday.
"The amount of gun violence in our city is simply unacceptable," Chicago First Deputy Police Superintendent Alfonza Wysinger said Tuesday. "We're not talking about numbers. We're talking about people."