We wake up this morning with heavy hearts and horrible news, #GoodKidsMadCity member #DelmonteJohnson was killed last night, he just turned 19.— GoodKidsMadCity (@GKMC18) September 6, 2018
Our condolences go out to his family and we will continue our fight to end #GunViolence in Chicago! https://t.co/Nc3zzhaYzZ pic.twitter.com/NOWVAnr5oW
A young anti-gun violence activist was fatally shot in South Side neighborhood of Chicago when he was walking to the store after hanging out with his brother at his basketball practice.
Delmonte Johnson was only 19-year-old and he was shot repeatedly in the chest and abdomen by someone in a tan-colored car right outside the basketball court. He was immediately taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, but died an hour later, according to the authorities.
“I laid next to my brother when he was dying in my hands,” said his brother, Devirgo Johnson. “I knew he was leaving me. But he’s still with me.”
Johnson used to work as a volunteer with youth-run anti-violence organization “Good Kids Mad City” (GKMC), which was formed earlier this year after a gunman opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, killing 17 educators and students. He participated in the “die-in” at City Hall and attended demonstrations to protest the city’s gun violence problem.
Unfortunately, he lost his life to the same plague he was actively fighting to eradicate.
“He died as a servant,” said Johnson’s grieving mother, Onique Walker. “Anything you asked Delmonte to do, he was there. . . . He died on the streets of Chicago that he was trying to help.”
Not only was he an activist, the 19-year-old was a member of several youth organizations, sang in the choir at his church and also worked as an usher, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He had been volunteering at his brother’s basketball practice and left to go to the store and now he’s gone,” GKMC cofounder Carlil Pittman told the BuzzFeed News. “This just underscores everything we have been working toward and losing him will urge us to push harder for what we deserve and believe in.”
He said Johnson was also seen passing out food and water to attendees at a recent shoe giveaway held in Chicago in response to the controversial “bait truck” operation.
“He was always at events, protests, marches, he was very involved,” Pittman continued. “That was the last time I saw him. He was helping out, bringing kids inside for their shoes. He would wake up at 6 a.m. to go to stuff like this. He was committed.”
While anti-violence advocates across the country called for stricter gun laws following the massacre in Parkland, Good Kids Mad City took a stand for the young people of color whose plight often gets ignored.
“Good Kids Mad City (GKMC) is a movement created by youth from Chicago, DC, and Baltimore because as youth we feel under attacked by our own city. We stand in solidarity with Parkland and we wanted to uplift our own struggles,” read the group’s description on their GoFundMe page. “We chose the name GKMC because often times youth are described with negative terms such as ‘troubled youth’ or ‘at risk youth,’ and we are actually good. The system has been against us from the very beginning. We believe GKMC accurately illustrates the struggle we are facing daily. We are tired of our shouts for help going unheard. We aren’t asking anymore, we are demanding!”
Following Johnson’s tragic death, several prominent anti-gun violence advocates took to Twitter to pay their respects to the young activist.
Delmonte Johnson was a 19-year-old who worked with @GKMC18 as an activist to end gun violence in Chicago,— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) September 6, 2018
last night he was shot to death.
This has to end my heart goes out to Delmonte and his family together we will end this. #RememberDelmonteJohnson https://t.co/9JVU4CjVvc
Our dear friend #DelmonteJohnson was killed last night—after protesting for years to end #GunViolence. We send our sincerest condolences to his family. We send our frustrations to Chicago legislators. #Enough https://t.co/IPqpb9rnig— Gather (@gatheractivism) September 6, 2018
Our thoughts are with the family and friends of 19-year-old #DelmonteJohnson who was shot and killed last night in Chicago. Delmonte was an advocate against gun violence & a member of #GoodKidsMadCity. #EnoughGunViolence https://t.co/aJZGA5oR6K— Brady Campaign (@Bradybuzz) September 6, 2018
We don’t do this work because it’s easy. We do it because it needs doing. Rest in power, #DelmonteJohnson. We honor you by moving forward, toward a world where gun violence is no longer the norm. https://t.co/6E6nnLZCNy— Ceasefire STL (@CeasefireSTL) September 7, 2018
A mayoral candidate for Chicago, Amara Enyia, also issued a statement following Johnson’s death.
Attended the vigil for #DelmonteJohnson tonight. Wondering how any public servant can go to a vigil and not feel absolutely compelled to address violence at the root. Not platitudes, not bandaids, not looking for quick fixes. The root causes. @GKMC18 pic.twitter.com/h7bY8rRbKv— Amara Enyia (@AmaraEnyia) September 7, 2018
While the motive behind the shooting is still unclear, the Chicago police have reportedly arrested two suspects. Their details have not been released as of yet.
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