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Mother of slain teen told killer didn’t mean it

Posted by Admin On August - 1 - 2011

Youth to mom: ‘Keep my name out of your mouth’


By Chinta Strausberg

Tonya Burch, the mother of slain Deonate Smith, 19, who was fatally shot on August 1, 2009, at an unauthorized Englewood block party, is holding a prayer vigil Monday, August 1st at 61st and Peoria at 5 p.m. in memory of the second anniversary of her youngest son’s death despite getting a lot of hostility from youth who are very angry she is trying to find her son’s killer.

Burch, who will be accompanied by Father Michael L. Pfleger, C.A.P.S. and other supporters, will be passing out a flyer offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the person who fatally shot her son during an unauthorized block party at 950 W. 61st Street, 61st and Peoria, on August 1, 2009 after an argument broke out.

Undaunted by the hostility she continues to get while canvassing her community for clues, Burch said, “One young man asked me why was I going around asking who killed my son and he told me to keep his name out of my mouth. That sends up another flag to me,” she said.

“He didn’t scare me,” said Burch. “I keep running into people who keep telling me the man who shot my son didn’t do it intentionally. Well, I feel they know who the shooter is and by not revealing his name they are providing a cover for him to possibly do this to someone else.

“There were too many people out there for someone not to know the name of the shooter,” said the distraught mother.

 “Each time they have this party, someone gets hurt, but nobody wants to tell who gives the party. That’s another cover-up.

“Somebody knows the name of the man who killed my son, and I want them to step forward and identify him. If they don’t, he may think he can kill again and get away with this. I am very upset about this silence. It’s like they are covering up for a friend, neighbor or relative.”

She is referring to the “Code of Silence” that Father Pfleger often speaks out against. He too says by not sharing information key to solving a crime it provides a cover for shooters who are literally getting away with murder.

“My son was going to Daley College and to the Air Force,” said the mother, but his dreams were shattered when a bullet pierced his chest.  A 17-year-old girl was shot but survived.

Burch has a message for those who know who killed her son and won’t reveal the name. “They are cowards. Some say they are afraid but their silence is giving him protection.”

She is offering a $10,000 reward for the arrest of the shooter. Burch called on the community to help police solve this crime.

For further information, call Saint Sabina’s Father Michael L. Pfleger at: 773-483-4300.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.



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