AUSTIN — A mother of four young children was killed and a man was wounded in a shooting on the West Side.
Shemara Fitzpatrick, 23, was with her boyfriend on the 4800 block of West Fulton Street on Dec. 1 when the two were shot around 3 p.m., authorities said.
"She was my baby daughter," said her mother Mertae Fitzpatrick. "They were going to the store and this dude stepped out of a car and started shooting."
"They had seen a black car come through a couple times before the shooting started."
According to long-time residents of the area, the Austin block is notorious for the open-air drug market based around a shopping plaza located on the street’s eastern corner.
According to Fitzpatrick, her daughter was out drinking and smoking weed on the porch with her boyfriend, David Freeman, known as "Dollar", when a car pulled up and opened fire.
Police believe Freeman was the intended target.
Belinda Martin, 51, wife of Rev. William Martin at Chance Ministries, located across the street, said she had just left the church when she thought she heard what she thought was a knock at the door.
She later realized it was the sound of around 12 gunshots.
“That’s an area known for doing what they be doing,” Rev. Martin, 52, said, noting the visible outdoor drug deals. “It’s [in] a terrible state, man.”
Another neighbor, John Chew, 40, said he has been living on the block for 40 years and has watched the neighborhood deteriorate.
“I would say you could see [the drug dealers] out there right now,” he said, pointing to the nearby shopping plaza, “but they’re laying low after what happened.”
“Over the years, things have gotten pretty bad on this block.”
Friends and family deny Fitzpatrick was involved in anything other than the use of marijuana. They said the mother was concerned with the safety of her four young children, ages 1, 5, 6 and 7.
"I can't even cry anymore," said Vanity Foy, 23, Fitzpatrick's best friend since grade school. "I don't remember nothing but good things about her."
The two women were frequently known to babysit each other's children — Foy's son Maurice and Shemara's son Matrice were named in honor of the other.
"Whoever [shot her] needs to come forward," she said.
According to Fitzpatrick's aunt and mother, money for the younger Fitzpatrick's funeral was hard to come by. They received a portion from her boyfriend and were able to raise the rest mere days before the funeral.
"I had a dream about her last night," Foy said. "She told me to stay strong and that it's going to be ok."