CHICAGO – Ten years after losing their son to Chicago gun violence, a grieving family has kept hope alive. They wanted to share their story with other families who might also be experiencing the pain of loss.
The pain is still raw for his loved ones, except one – his daughter, who was too young to remember her dad. The entire family has rallied around her, and she is thriving.
Just before 6 a.m. on July 2, 2013, gunshots rang out near a BP gas station at 99th and Halsted. The unintended target was a street vendor: 23-year-old Terrance Graves. For two years, he had been selling fruit and newspapers to support his family.
“You don’t work, you don’t eat. It was instilled in him. He grew up in a church family. Also, I might add, great people taught him, this is what you have to do. There’s no free. You have to work for what you want,” said Teresa Graves, Terrance’s mother.
Teresa went into a deep depression following his murder. His father, Willie Sims, turned to alcohol to numb the pain.
“I gave up on myself a little bit. I was going to church, but I just forgot about where I came from because when I got the phone call, it was early in the morning and I was in shock. I actually hung up and thought she can’t be talking about my son,” Willie said.
Terrance was a Proviso East High School graduate and attended Lincoln Technical College. He was engaged to be married, with a 4-year-old daughter named Tynaiah.
“She’s a beautiful young woman. Bright, gorgeous,” Teresa said. “She’s doing great. We all overcome, we’re overcoming this together as a team.”
Tynaiah is now 15 and wants to become a nurse. Her family has instilled the same work ethic in her as they did her father. They want her success story to soothe other families with similar pain.
“It’s not going great. Can’t say it’s great. But we are hanging in there,” Willie said.
Chicago police say no one is in custody for Terrance’s murder, and it remains an open investigation. Anyone with information can submit an anonymous tip at CPDTIP.COM.