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Neighbors frustrated but resilient after another shooting, this time death of teen

Posted at 10:29 PM, Jun 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 23:29:26-04

People living along Hadley Street are trying to keep their heads up after more killings around their once quiet, tree-lined neighborhood.

"It's a shame that you have to live like this," said Vernita Brooks.

Brooks, who's recovering from a broken leg, watched from her home on Friday night as neighbors rushed to help two young men shot in the street.

A 18-year-old, according to police, died at the scene. A 20-year-old man later died at the hospital. Police said they're looking for unknown suspects.

Brooks said the teenager's parents and other extended family arrived only to learn the boy had died.

"That lady [mother] cried until she had no voice. They didn't let her go near the body," said Brooks. "And then the father came out. And it was just sad to see that man break down to the ground. I busted up crying. I couldn't even stand to see it."

Brooks said she watched the teenager hang out with friends for years in the neighborhood.

"They need to get justice for that child. He was a sweet kid from what I saw," she said.

Another neighbor told us she performed CPR on the teenager. At the time, she said, he had a faint pulse. Neither Brooks nor the neighbor said they knew either of the victims names.

Last Saturday, a 51-year-old woman was shot and killed around the corner at 39th and Hadley. 39-year-old Quantae Hines of Milwaukee has been charged with homicide in that shooting. According to the court, he knew the victim.

Aside from the latest shootings, Brooks has been even closer to the gunfire.

A few years ago, someone shot at her home. Bullet holes remain in her siding.

Yet, after 16 years, she has no plans of moving. She maintains her property, hoping for a change to the gun violence but not having an answer.

Brooks grows peonies and roses in her neatly mowed front lawn. She planted the roses for her grandmother, Annabelle, who passed away.

"I call them Anabelles [the roses] cause she grew all the way to the second floor. Used to say she was trying to get up there to talk to me," said Brooks.

Her neighbor, Timothy Schlueter, said he wouldn't live anywhere else.

"It's beautiful. Trees. Grass. I got a beautiful home. They were built in the early 1900s. And they're built solid. I got a big porch," said Schlueter, who spent most of the afternoon enjoying the breeze on that porch.

Further down the block, Curtis Ashley played with his three children on their front lawn.

"Most I can do is keep a smile on my face, greet most people I see walking down the block, and try to give them the feeling that it's warm," he said.

Yet Ashley, like the others, understands that for now, the violence is only getting worse, leaving others with only a negative view of their neighborhood.

"I just wish people would put the guns down," said Ashley. "Children are our future. If we don't protect the children, we doomed as a civilization. We got to get better for the little ones."

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