Nykea Aldridge, a 32-year-old mother of four, was pushing her baby in a stroller near a school where she’d planned to register her children when she was shot in the head and arm. She wasn’t the intended target, Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said at a news conference Sunday, but rather a driver who had just dropped off passengers in the neighborhood.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the suspects are an example of the city’s problem with repeat offenders, which he has spoken about frequently in recent months. Darwin Sorrells was sentenced to six years in prison in January 2013 on a gun charge and was released early on parole. Derren Sorrells is a known gang member who is also on parole for motor vehicle theft and escape, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said, adding he has six felony arrests on his record.
“They don’t care who they shoot and they don’t fear the consequences,” he said, noting as he has in the past that about 1,400 people are driving 85 percent of the city’s gun violence. He added that the city has gotten very good at predicting who will be the perpetrators and the victims of gun violence.
Wade, whose charitable organization, Wade’s World Foundation, does community outreach in the Chicago area, signed with the Chicago Bulls in July after 13 years with the Miami Heat. He and his mother, pastor Jolinda Wade, participated Thursday via satellite in a town hall meeting in Chicago on gun violence hosted by ESPN.
Wade has reacted to his cousin’s shooting only online, tweeting Friday: “My cousin was killed today in Chicago. Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough.”
Wade also tweeted Saturday morning: “The city of Chicago is hurting. We need more help& more hands on deck. Not for me and my family but for the future of our world. The YOUTH!” adding in a following tweet, “These young kids are screaming for help!!! #EnoughIsEnough.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has spoken about the city’s violence, and tweeted about Aldridge’s death Saturday morning. He first posted, “Dwyane Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!,” and then an hour later tweeted, “My condolences to Dwyane Wade and his family, on the loss of Nykea Aldridge. They are in my thoughts and prayers.”
The GOP nominee faced a backlash on social media for politicizing Aldridge’s death.
Outside the emergency room where Aldridge was pronounced dead, Jolinda Wade clutched her sister and spoke for the family as mourners stood in a circle holding hands and praying. She said she’d participated in the town hall meeting “never knowing that the next day we would be the ones that would actually be living and experiencing it.”
“We’re still going to try to help and empower people like the one who senselessly shot my niece in the head,” Jolinda Wade said. “We’re going to try to help these people to transform their minds and give them a different direction.’
It is not the first time Dwyane Wade’s family in Chicago has been affected by gun violence. His nephew, Darin Johnson, was shot twice in the leg in 2012 but recovered.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence sidestepped questions Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union” about the flow of guns into Illinois from his state. Chicago police have said a fifth of the guns used in Chicago crimes are from Indiana. When asked about it, the Republican vice presidential candidate instead brought up failing schools in Chicago and his running mate Donald Trump’s pledge to create jobs.
Family members are caring for Aldridge’s baby, who wasn’t hurt.