Family speaks out about shooting of teenage Bud Billiken dancer.His father says killing was his ‘worst nightmare’


A six-year performer at Chicago’s Bud Billiken Parade, Deshaunay Yookum danced, paved the way, and spread joy wherever he went. Recently, she got her first job at Culver’s restaurant and was preparing for the upcoming prom.

But instead of continuing to strive for her future, Yoakum spent her 18th birthday this month fighting for her life at the University of Chicago Medical School as she seeks to recover from a gunshot wound to the head.

Her family gathered around her hospital bed to celebrate her birthday on March 9 and wish her a full recovery, but she was pronounced dead four days later, according to the Cook County Coroner’s Office.

Details are unknown, but on March 1st, Joakum was visiting his cousin at his apartment in Bronzeville. Her cousin found her shot in the head.She was taken to the University of Chicago Medical School in critical condition.

Chicago police said no one was in custody and detectives were investigating the circumstances leading up to the shooting.

Yoakum’s family said Tuesday that a cousin Yoakum visited may be afraid to reveal what happened and didn’t blame her. But her family wants members of the Bronzeville community to release details about who shot the teen.

Yoakum’s mother, Artamese Prewitt, sobbed during a Tribune interview this week.

Artamese Prewitt is seen with a photo of her daughter Deshawnay Yoakum at the Leak & Sons Funeral Home in Chicago's South Side on March 14, 2023.

According to Prewitt, her daughter recently took graduation photos and is preparing for her upcoming prom. Lively and talented, her Yoakum as a teenager danced wherever she went, her mother says.

“She had just gotten her first job at Culver’s and had plans to become a CNA,” her mother said. “I never thought this would happen to you,” she muttered loudly to herself about her child.

Her daughter developed a love of dancing and never let it go. Bud joined her Next Level Dance team performing in front of the crowd at her Billiken Parade, a summer festival of youth before school starts in the fall.

The Bud Billiken Parade is held annually on Chicago’s South Side along King Drive from 26th to 51st Streets in Washington Park in the Bronzeville District, the same area where Yoakum was fatally injured. end with .

According to the Chicago Police Department, as of March 12, 2023, 59 boys have been shot dead in Chicago. Yoakum was technically an adult, but he was one of the boys shot.

Yoakum’s death isn’t the first kill to rob Chicago of a young talent.

Verndell “Vee” Smith II — the partially deaf but gifted dancer and activist against gun violence who mentored generations of children — is dedicated to keeping children out of trouble. The Ultimate Threat Dance Team was launched with the aim of But in May 2021, the 32-year-old father and beloved dance coach was shot dead outside Dunkin’ his donuts in Park’s Manor district, leaving his family in mourning and dancing his community upsetting. , the Tribune reported in his 2022.

Now another Chicago family is dealing with senseless gun violence in the city.Yoakum had a large family that adored her, including ten siblings.

“My baby had three parents: two mothers, including a stepmother and her father,” Prewitt said.

Yoakum’s five-year-old sister, Chloe, is having trouble figuring out where her sister has gone.

“I explained to her that I had gone where my grandfather had gone, and she asked, ‘Why?'” Prewitt said. One of Yoakum’s younger brothers is grief-stricken and has yet to return to school after being shot dead.

Yoakum’s father, Fred Yoakum, was still in shock on Tuesday.

“I don’t understand why I don’t get any information. Even the day my daughter died, I didn’t get a call from detectives,” he said. “This is my worst nightmare. It’s been very difficult.”

Her mother said her daughter put on shows wherever she went. She must show off her powers until the killer of her daughter is caught.

“It’s scary to death, but we have to do what we have to do and bring those responsible to justice,” she said, asking if anyone had information about the shooter to call police. .


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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