By TIFFANY MITCHELL
Homicide Watch Chicago
When Martell Howard was fatally shot two months ago in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, he was hanging out with people he thought were his friends, according to his mother.
“He was not in a gang, he was an outgoing young man who loved his family and friends,” Peaches Barker McCorttrell said of her son.
And she should know.
“Martell was such a great help to me with his younger sister. He would pick her up and watch her until I got off of work,” she said. “My son was so helpful, I remember when I opened up my boutique and I couldn’t afford workers, so he said, ‘Mama, I will work for you for free’.”
It was a special bond between mother and son.
“Me and my boys were so close, I would put them into programs such as the YMCA, Family Focus, and basketball camps to keep them out of the streets,” she said.
So McCorttrell has been devastated by the loss of her son.
“I get comfort in going to the cemetery everyday, I just can’t believe he is gone,” she said.
According to Chicago Police, Howard was outside with friends about 7:15 p.m. Jan. 21 in the 4600 block of West Huron. He got into an argument, when someone fired shots through a crowd of people, striking two of them.
Howard, shot once in the abdomen, was dropped off at Stroger Hospital, where he died about an hour later. Another man was shot in both legs, but survived the attack.
Howard leaves behind two children of his own—6-year-old Treyvon Howard and 4-year-old Contina Howard.
“Martell had his kids every weekend and every holiday, but now I have the kids because he’s gone,” McCorttrell said. “He was not just a money dad, he was a hands-on dad.”
“The church was packed with family and friends on the day of his funeral, because he was loved by many,” she said.
The middle child of three, Howard’s great joy as a child was playing basketball video games, according to his mom.
He graduated from Marshall High School, and later worked at Dunkin’ Donuts in Hillside and Mariano’s in Westchester.
“My son would do anything for you,” McCorttrell said. “He would bring doughnuts to his friends and family just because.”
It’s been hard on his family since that fatal night, but a grieving mother is now trying to help police find the killer.
“My son fell victim to the streets, that’s why I’m doing what I can to get my son’s story out there by putting a $7,000 reward out for justice for my son,” she said of the posters she has put up in the neighborhood and posted across social media.
She said she felt like a part of her soul left her body when her son died, and she wants the killer to turn himself in.
“I put flyers all over the neighborhood, so Martell’s murderer will not get any rest, because every time they look around they will see his picture.”