Written by The Chicago Defender
CHICAGO (CBS) — In what appears to be a retaliatory gang attack, two people were shot — one fatally — outside a church funeral on the South Side on Monday.
One of the victims — 21-year-old Sherman Miller — died, and the second man was in critical condition at Stroger Hospital. Police say both were convicted felons and gang members.
The shooting occurred shortly before 12:30 p.m. outside St. Columbanus Church, 331 E.71st St., where mourners had gathered. The gunman shot the two victims as they fled the building.
"Can you imagine 1,200 people in a church and everybody's running? It was awful. We had babies crying," witness Deborah Echols Moore told CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker.
The Rev. Corey Brooks spoke at the funeral for James Holman, 32, of Chicago, who was shot to death in an apparent gang-related shooting Nov. 19 in the 6000 block of South Michigan Avenue.
"I preached that we have a great need for God and peace in our neighborhoods," said Brooks, who is running for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacant congressional seat.
Brooks heard the gunfire after the service, he said.
"It was crazy," Brooks said. "It was the worst thing you could imagine. People were running, screaming, trying to get safe. When people were going out the door, they saw the bodies."
Outside the church, a sign said: ''Pray for Peace."
A police source said two weapons were recovered in connection with the shootings. One gun was found on one of the victims. Another gun was found nearby at 72nd and Prairie, the source said.
Holman was a member of the Gangster Disciples but police have not confirmed his killing was directly related to a gang conflict, the source said. The motive for Monday's shootings also is unclear, said the source, but he added that there's been an ongoing battle between the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples in the area.
Police said the funeral was not one that they thought needed security for possible gang violence.
The CTA's 71st/South Shore bus had to be rerouted in both directions.
Area Central detectives are investigating.