A Chicago special education teacher working a second job has become one of the latest victims of gun violence, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Betty Howard, 58, was at her second job in a real estate office in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood late Thursday afternoon when shots were fired in the street. Some of the bullets tore through the wall, hitting her in the head and grazing a 58-year-old man in the same building in the stomach. A 23-year-old woman outside was hit in the hand.
According to the Tribune, police reports don’t identify any of the three who were hit as the intended victims; police believe that the shooter was targeting a rival gangbanger. There are currently no suspects in custody.
Howard also taught at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Roseland, another crime-ridden Chicago neighborhood, where her brother, Orlando Long, is a beat cop. “I deal with it all day, every day, because I do work the streets and I’m aware of what’s going on in the Chicagoland area. But it just has to stop,” he told the newspaper outside the hospital where his sister was pronounced dead.
“I feel the pain, I know how other people feel now when we just go to the scenes and do what we have to do as a police officer,” he added. “But now it’s hitting home, and it’s a terrible situation.”
Howard was one of 14 people shot Thursday in the city, the Tribune notes.
“Our entire staff, students and parents are deeply saddened by the unexpected, untimely and unwarranted loss of our friend, teacher and colleague,” Brooks Academy principal D’Andre Weaver said in a statement Friday morning. “Dr. Howard has been a member of our family for many years. Her love for all children, but particularly children with diverse learning needs, was second to none.
“This tragedy reiterates the importance of high quality education and the opportunity for social mobility for all children in the City of Chicago,” the statement continued. “As educators, we believe this is the only true way to combat generational poverty, rampant crime and the sense of helplessness felt by many people in our minority-dominated communities.”
Her brother, who had previously lost two other siblings, spoke candidly about the pain the most recent loss is bound to cause the family.
“Whomever did this, you hurt my mama a great deal,” he said. “We just buried two brothers within the last five years. This is another sibling she has to bury. It’s not easy for her; it’s not easy for the family.”