Two suspects "ambushed" her son while he was sitting in his vehicle and shot him seven times.
Shamayim "Mama Shu" Harris emerged as one of Highland Park's community leaders when her 2-year-old son Jakobi Ra was killed in a hit-and-run case back in 2007. She put all her energy into turning her community into a safer place after the tragic event.
Now, 14 years after that incident, tragedy has struck Shamayim once again, and once again, it's her son she has lost. Her son, Chinyelu Humphrey, has become a victim of gun violence in the same community she helped build for years that resulted in Avalon Village. The 23-year-old was killed in an ambush attack on January 26, 2021, as per People.
"It just feels like lightning striking twice," the 55-year-old mother told the publication. "Like the first time, when Jakobi got killed… that was just like, out of the blue shock. But then Chinyelu… I don't even know how to really describe it. Unfortunately, I'm familiar with the pain. However, I am coping."
According to Chief Kevin Coney, Chinyelu was shot multiple times. "Two guys walked up to him while he was in his vehicle and shot approximately seven rounds into his vehicle," reported WJBK. He added that Chinyelu then ran from the car to a friend's house and called 911. He was then rushed to Henry Ford Hospital when he succumbed to his injuries.
Calling her son's killer trespassers who "ambushed" Chinyelu while he was sitting alone in his own community, Shamayim said, "[Chinyelu] was my fireball child. He was the braveheart. Chin had so much heart. He was so loved," she says. "He loved children. Chin helped to build Avalon Village. Chin was my protector; he was my partner. We did things together. It was me and him over here in the Village."
It was her toddler's death that inspired her to change her community. She previously told People, "I remember waking up the next morning, thinking, 'I'm living through this pain that I thought would kill me. I'm not afraid of anything anymore.'" Six months later she channeled her grief into transforming a half-abandoned block into a sustainable eco-village.
Talking about the community, Chief Kevin said, "She took Avalon and gave it a breath of fresh air. She's doing a wonderful job over there - she's tearing down some houses, she keeps the grass cut in the neighborhood, she has programs for the kids over there during the summer and the wintertime. She does a lot of positive things in our community."
Even after suffering from the loss of her surviving son, Shamayim said that there's nothing that would stop her from reforming her community. "We're still keeping it moving. None of that destructive energy will stop what's going on here, because we're on a mission, flat-out… We're rebuilding. We're making things wonderful again over here." She even plans to increase security measures by adding fences and booths to keep uninvited people out.
The detective who handled the hit-and-run case of her toddler is responsible for investigating Chinyelu's case as well. Det. Paul Thomas who works with the Highland Park Police Department divulged, "I hate it, especially for his mother, to have her surviving son get killed. It's terrible. In situations like this, I rely on faith. It's up to me to do whatever I can to bring a resolution to this case."
The grieving mother and her community have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to make Avalon Village a better place. They have successfully raised $23,593 so far. While helping the community grow financially, the community is helping heal each other as well. "I'm just really, really sad about this. This is a terrible tragedy to our community. We feel vulnerable over here. I believe that other people have suffered as well because of this same type of senseless act, and the pain is indescribable."
Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. https://t.co/cDKUUjQrUI— The Avalon Village (@AvalonVillageHP) February 1, 2021
Chief Kevin said that the people have to come together to stop crime against people. "We have to stop and come together," he said. "People running around with these guns and causing havoc and we're really trying to stop this. We don't want this ongoing-we want positivity coming, but we will find out who did this."