Outrage and heartbreak consumed a Chicago neighborhood after two mothers who were members of a community peace group were killed in a drive-by shooting at a street corner they had been working to reclaim from gun violence, police said Tuesday.
Chantell Grant, 26, a mother of three, and Andrea Stoudemire, 36, who leaves behind four children, were gunned down as they patrolled their South Side neighborhood in an effort to deter the type of crime that claimed their lives, police said.
"The irony of them being shot when they were out doing one of these vigils is, personally, very disturbing," Sally Bown, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Police Department, told ABC News on Tuesday.
Grant and Stoudemire were members of Mothers Against Senseless Killings (MASK), a group that was formed in 2015 after three women were shot, one fatally, near the same street corner in the Englewood neighborhood, members of the group said.
"For mothers to be killed in a place where mothers go to seek safety and sisterhood, I take that as a personal threat," said Tamar Manasseh, 41, founder of the group. "Because when you come for one of us, you better believe they came for all of us."
Grant and Stoudemire were out helping to patrol the neighborhood Friday when just before 10 p.m., a blue SUV pulled up and someone inside opened fire, killing the women and leaving two men injured, including one whose arm was grazed by a bullet, Bown said. Police recovered multiple shell casings from the scene, she said.
An SUV was found abandoned nearby and police were working Tuesday to determine if it is the same vehicle involved in the shooting.
Bown said no suspects have been identified in the double homicide, and it remained unclear if those responsible for the shooting were targeting the women or someone else in their group.
During a news conference Sunday at the scene of the shootings, Manasseh said the slaying will not stop the work MASK has done in the neighborhood to curb violence. Members of the group say they take turns during the summer standing vigil at the intersection or hosting barbecues, hoping that their constant presence would serve as a deterrent to violence.
Manasseh established a GoFundMe page to raise money for a reward for information leading to an arrest. As of Tuesday afternoon, people had contributed more than $9,000 to the fund, nearly doubling the goal Manasseh set.
"The murder of a woman brought us to our corner on 75th & Stewart so there's no way we're going to let the murder of more moms drive us away," Manasseh wrote on the GoFundMe page. "We deserve to live without fear and the young women, Chantell Grant and Andrea Stoudemire who were torn from their children families ... deserve justice."
Another MASK member, Maria Pike, who lost her son to gun violence in 2012, said the shooting left her outraged.
"Spraying bullets on indefensible women is total cowardice," Pike said during Sunday's news conference.
In a separate interview with ABC station WLS-TV, Pike described the corner where the women were killed as "a haven that was built by moms."
"It is sacred ground, as far as we're concerned," Pike said. "It is personal because any kind of violence, regardless of whether you are affected, or you are the offender, is wrong."