‘It wasn’t just another gun­shot vic­tim’

Niece of woman killed by CTA train fa­tally shot over Fourth of July week­end

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - By Made­line Buckley mabuck­[email protected]­bune.com

In the days fol­low­ing her sis­ter’s heav­ily pub­li­cized death at a CTA Red Line stop, Brandy Martin was in a fog of grief as she fielded dozens of calls from friends, fam­ily and the me­dia.

She be­gan pre­par­ing for the funeral while speaking with po­lice and the CTA. She tried to stave off a so­cial me­dia avalanche of mock­ing cru­elty amid leaked video of the mo­ments be­fore her sis­ter was hit by a train af­ter she went onto the tracks to re­trieve her dropped phone at the 69th Street sta­tion on June 27.

Fi­nally, af­ter seven days of not eat­ing or sleep­ing, Martin got into bed, turned the volume low on her phone and tried to sleep.

That’s when she missed nearly three dozen calls. She would soon learn that barely a week af­ter her sis­ter was killed, her daugh­ter is now dead.

Martin’s 22-year-old daugh­ter, Akee­lah Ad­di­son, was at a party cel­e­brat­ing the Fourth of July when a man shot her in the head just be­fore 3 a.m. on July 5 in the 4200 block of South Wells Street in the South Side’s Fuller Park neigh­bor­hood.

“It wasn’t just another gun­shot vic­tim,” Martin said. “It was my daugh­ter.”

Now, Martin is plan­ning a dou­ble funeral. She is pre­par­ing to bury both her daugh­ter and her sis­ter af­ter a joint cer­e­mony on July 12. She pre­vi­ously started a GoFundMe cam­paign to raise money to bury her sis­ter, as she did not have enough to pro­ceed on her own. On Satur­day, she added her daugh­ter’s death to the cam­paign.

The two were among the clos­est in the world to her, Martin said. The 42year-old woman was five years older than her sis­ter, 37-year-old Felon Smith. She helped raise her younger sis­ter when there was trou­ble at home. And she was be­gin­ning to ex­pe­ri­ence a new, more grownup re­la­tion­ship with her daugh­ter, who was her el­dest.

At 22, Ad­di­son was work­ing at a sa­lon as a hair stylist, taking on­line classes and grow­ing more in­de­pen­dent. She was be­gin­ning to re­late to her mother as an adult.

“I was de­vel­op­ing a grown woman friend­ship with her,” Martin said through tears, talk­ing on the front porch of her Mar­quette Park home.

Martin is go­ing through the mo­tions to get ev­ery­thing ready for the dou­ble funeral. She hopes for jus­tice for her daugh­ter, and for changes to pro­to­col and train­ing at the CTA af­ter leaked video showed that a se­cu­rity guard ap­peared to move slowly and not to make an ef­fort to pull Smith back up to the plat­form.

But she knows very few fam­i­lies who lose loved ones to gun vi­o­lence ever see an ar­rest in the case. The CTA has said of­fi­cials are re­view­ing the in­ci­dent, but she doesn’t know what may come of that.

She is mostly numb, com­part­men­tal­iz­ing the pain so she can get through the day.

“Peo­ple have got­ten so used to deal­ing with pain. I am ac­cus­tomed to it,” Martin said.

CAMILLE FINE/CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Brandy Martin, sis­ter of Felon Smith, a woman struck and killed by a train on the CTA Red Line tracks on June 27, weeps while speaking to a re­porter. Martin’s 22-year-old daugh­ter, Akee­lah Ad­di­son, was shot and killed Fri­day.

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