Damarion Benson, who was killed during a horrific mass shooting in Chicago on Wednesday, is being mourned by his mother, Brittany, who says he was her “eyes.” The 32-year-old mother, who has trouble seeing, explained to the Chicago Times that she depended on her son for simple tasks. She explained that “I told him, ‘You are my eyes.’”
On Wednesday, Brittany Benson got “one of the worst calls a mom can get.” Damarion was a victim of a mass shooting at the corner of Douglas Boulevard and Christiana Avenue on Wednesday night. There were three mass shootings within 24 hours, marking Chicago streets with blood. While police search for the suspects, the Benson family is remembering the sweet boy that was killed.
“I know, I know. I love you, mom,” were 15-year-old Damarion Benson’s last words to Brittany before he was shot in the head on Wednesday. While on the phone, his mother told him to come home and that it was too dangerous on the streets. Minutes after they hung up, gunfire erupted in the Chicago neighborhood. Damarion and four other people, including Brittany Benson’s 16-year-old cousin, were shot.
According to police, Damarion was taken to Stroger Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Benson’s 16-year-old cousin was seriously wounded in the shooting and is currently on life support. The boy was also struck in the head and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition.
The three other victims of the mass shooting, all said to be in their early 20s, were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, but the outcomes were more positive. All three men have been stabilized and are expected to recover from their injuries, according to police.
“This was one of my biggest fears,” Brittany Benson explained to reporters. “I told him, I love you and I don’t want this to happen to you. One of the worst calls a mom can get is that their son is dead.” The incident was not only a tragedy but another statistic for the crime-ridden Chicago. Three mass shootings were reported with more than 24 injured and three dead. The night, which started at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday and ended at around 1:40 a.m. Thursday was the setting of a tragic spree of violence across the city.
“Damarion was one hell of a kid,” Brittany Benson told reporters about her son. “He was doing typical things teens do. He wasn’t perfect — but he loved his family.” Damarion Benson attended Lawndale Community Academy until a juvenile conviction sent him to jail. After his release, he graduated from Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School and was expected to start at Wells Community Academy in the fall.
“You know how it is,” Brittany Benson said. Damarion was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning, which is why his mother had called him to come home. She claimed that his reason for staying out late was “peer pressure.”
“When you’re a kid you get caught up hanging out in the wrong crowd,” she admitted. “He was in the juvenile system — but he was a kid.”
Benson’s son was also a big help around the house. Damarion’s mother explained that since her eyes began causing her trouble, he would look after his two younger brothers, taking them to the school bus and watching over them at home.
Damarion had big dreams, according to his mother. Brittany Benson said that her son dreamed of playing professional basketball and was developing a passion for rapping. She told him that if he graduated high school, anything was possible. To encourage his commitment, she promised him that she’d trade a car for his diploma. “I told him, you bring that high school diploma and I’ll get you a car.”
The mourning mother claimed that her son “was a genuine person” and said that “he’d do anything for you.” Benson said that “I just want him to be remembered for his sense of humor.”
While Brittany Benson continues to mourn her son, Chicago police are trying to understand what happened on Wednesday night. In speaking about the three mass shootings in the city, Chicago Police Deputy Chief Ernest Cato said that “we’re going to need an all-hands-on-deck approach, and that approach is going to involve … our community getting involved and saying what’s going on. Our community who has cellphone pictures, who has Facebook information. We’re going to need your help.”
One of the mass shootings occurred in the Old Town Triangle neighborhood on the North Side. Eight people were wounded when multiple gunmen opened fire at a party bus service near a gas station. Like the others, police have not determined a motive in the violent crime.
Cato explained that two of the mass shootings occurred only three blocks apart but did not appear to be related. He pointed out that though it’s a Chicago problem, it’s also a problem for the entire country. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing this not only in our city. We’re seeing this in our country, mass shootings,” he explained. “If you’re asking for my feelings, I’m not happy about it at all. I think all of us should be sad about what’s going on in our country and in our city.”
Police Superintendent David Brown said that while investigators are doing their best to get to the bottom of the mass shootings, many of the victims are not cooperating making it very difficult to understand what happened. “That signals to us that, ‘We want revenge. We don’t want police solving this case,‘“ Brown told reporters at a news conference. “It’s not an exaggeration to say we are in a battle for the heart and soul of some of these communities as it relates to violence.”