WEST ENGLEWOOD — Tacarra Morgan, 6, still has scars from a bullet that hit her in the stomach this summer.
She still shows signs of being traumatized after being hit with gunfire as she sat on a porch with her mom and grandmother.
“My daughter is still scared, but I just tell her, ‘Baby, we got God on our side, we can’t be scared,’” said Taccara's mother, Carolyn Morgan.
Tacarra was one of four children under 10 hit by gunfire this summer in Englewood.
Their stories inspired Devry S. Graham, president and owner of Graham Funeral Directors, to celebrate the strength of their families and seek to assist the children with gifts and financial help. He hosted the first "Christmas Extravaganza Good In the Wood Toy Drive Giveaway" Saturday, which provided free gifts for the victims, as well as $500 trust accounts to go toward college tuition for the kids.
And the event distributed 1,000 toys to other children.
What Graham is doing is a blessing, Morgan said. Finances have been tight, and the gifts will really help.
“I really appreciate what they’re putting together for my daughter,” Morgan said.
Her daughter was shot just after 1 p.m. July 19 in the 6000 block of South Paulina in West Englewood.
“We heard shots, so we started looking around and then we all jumped up and ran in the house,” she said.
Once inside, Tacarra complained that her stomach hurt, but she wasn’t crying or screaming, Morgan said. She said she discovered her daughter had been shot after lifting up her shirt and seeing the blood.
The little girl, who said she loves painting her nails and whose favorite colors are pink and blue, doesn't like the scars the bullet left. There are two small scars, one near her left side and the other closer to the center of her tummy.
Afraid to go outside
Months later, the girl is still experiencing trauma.
“If she hears noises, she’s gone,” Morgan said. “She’s still jumpy.”
Morgan said she’s afraid to let Tacarra play outside now, so she stays indoors. The family wants to move, but didn't have the means to do so and is staying put for now, Morgan said.
Jessie Williams, the great-grandmother of 5-year-old Taniyah Williams, who was shot in her leg on July 4, said their family is doing better.
Taniyah was playing with cousins on the 5500 block of South Hermitage Avenue when a bullet struck her left leg, Williams said.
Since the shooting the family has kept the children close and inside. Williams said she wants to move.
She said she’s thankful nothing more tragic happened, but it’s sad children can’t safely play outside their home without the fear of getting killed.
“I appreciate what [Graham] is doing,” Williams said about the gifts, because they wouldn’t be able to offer Taniyah much this year on their own.
Her cousin, Corey Boudurant, also was shot. The bullet hit his right leg and left it broken. The two had been playing with firecrackers together when the gunshots rang out.
Worried About Getting Blood On His Shoes
Corey’s grandmother, Shirley Williams, said the family took him to the Wisconsin Dells for a few days a couple of weeks after the shooting just so he could get away and feel safe.
He was in shock that day and didn’t even cry, she said.
“He was more concerned about getting blood on his new shoes — Air Jordans — his father had bought him,” Williams said.
The incident still has him on edge, Williams said. Sometimes he doesn’t want to get out of the car when he’s back in that neighborhood and it’s difficult for him to be comfortable when visiting the house.
The fourth victim was a 4-year-old boy who was outside a home in the 5700 block of South Morgan Street when a car drove up and someone inside the car fired shots at 5:45 p.m. July 6. No one answered knocks at the door of the family's home Thursday evening.
Devry Graham [Facebook]
Graham arranged for a car to pick up the children Saturday to attend the toy drive.
"Over the summer, there was such a bad taste in the city and community's mouth concerning policing and violent crime, that we just wanted to show that there are some people out here who are not trying to do stuff to be seen, but they really care about what goes on with our children," Graham said. "We want to show them a better way. I don't believe this generation is lost, I just think they need better examples."
The party was made possible with the help of community partners including the youth-focused nonprofit "Think Outside Da Box," Hamilton Park Advisory Council and Uncle Remus Chicken. Children in the community were welcome to attend the Christmas party and receive a free toy, he said.
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