Mum, 21, shot dead at birthday party just four years after big brother was gunned down

In the dark hours of a Sunday morning, North Lawndale, Chicago, became a scene of unspeakable horror as a young mother’s life was tragically cut short. Kanesha Gaines, a vibrant 21-year-old, met a devastating fate while celebrating her friend’s birthday. The night was meant to be a joyous occasion, but it descended into chaos when gunmen unleashed a hail of bullets at the Hawaiian-themed party.

As the shots rang out, Kanesha found herself in the crossfire, struck in the face and robbed of her future. Alongside her, eight friends were also wounded in the harrowing attack, with one victim fighting for their life after enduring eight gunshot wounds to the stomach. The assailants, driving a sinister black Jeep, callously opened fire in the party’s car park, shattering the peace and leaving a trail of heartache.

Kanesha, a dedicated stylist and compassionate home healthcare worker, leaves behind two young children—a three-year-old son and a daughter, aged two. The void she leaves behind is immeasurable, and her loved ones are left grappling with an unimaginable loss.

For her mother, Natasha, this tragedy strikes an even deeper chord. Only four years ago, she suffered the gut-wrenching loss of her eldest son, who too fell victim to gun violence in 2019. Now, she is forced to bear the unbearable weight of burying another child. Speaking to ABC Eyewitness News, Natasha’s pain is palpable as she mourns her oldest daughter: “I’m unbearably hurt. That’s my oldest daughter. That’s my oldest daughter. Kanesha was a funny everything. She was outgoing. She was the queen of the world.”

In the face of immense grief, Natasha displays unwavering courage, vowing to remain strong for her family: “I’m going to continue to be the strong one. I’m going to help my family, and we’re going to make it past this.”

The search for justice is ongoing, as authorities investigate the appalling shooting. A black Jeep, housing several individuals, reportedly served as the vessel of violence, indiscriminately targeting the group of innocent partygoers. As the community grapples with this senseless act, the perpetrators remain at large, and no one is yet in custody.

In this somber chapter of Chicago’s history, we are reminded once again of the urgent need to address the scourge of gun violence and its far-reaching consequences. Young lives, vibrant with promise, are being extinguished in senseless acts of aggression, leaving grieving families and shattered communities in their wake.

As we come to terms with this devastating loss, we must rally together in support of the victims’ families and demand change. Let this tragic incident serve as a clarion call for united action to prevent further lives from being cut short and to foster safer, more compassionate communities. The time to act is now, for we cannot allow another mother to suffer the unbearable heartache of losing a child to the grip of gun violence.

June K.

Ex-journalist/chief editor now. I love writing and the community engagement is awesome. I also run publications, where I get to once again run magazines, which is my passion.

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