Chicago shooting: Gardener killed on Lowe Avenue in West Pullman ID’d; aspiring rapper also fatally shot, mother says

CHICAGO (WLS) — The gardener killed in a West Pullman shooting that also left a 26-year-old aspiring rapper dead Saturday afternoon has been identified.

Larry Purnell, 64, died at Christ hospital, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

The grief for the mother of Brandon Slater, who was also gunned down in broad daylight, is unimaginable.

Diane Archer is trying to comprehend that nearly five months after burying one son as a result of gun violence, she must now bury another.

“We were just cooking our Mother’s Day dinner like I always do,” said Archer, the younger victim’s mother. “He was an aspiring rapper. Everyone knew him as ‘Benji.’ He was trying to do good. He had a son.”

Slater was shot and killed as he and a friend walked out of a West Pullman home in the 11600-block of South Lowe Avenue about 2:45 p.m. Saturday.

It’s a home that was in the midst of preparations for a large Mother’s Day celebration Sunday. Those preparations included hiring Purnell to come mow the lawn.

“He was cutting the backyard. They had called him to cut the backyard because of the big celebration tomorrow,” said Pastor Donovan Price, a victims’ advocate, on Saturday.

RELATED: Chicago shootings: 15 shot, 3 fatally, in weekend violence, CPD says

Purnell, according to detectives on the scene, appeared to have come out from the back after hearing the initial round of gunfire. He was struck in the chest and later died at Christ hospital.

“I am so tired of this nonsense,” Archer said. “Something has to be done.”

A motive for the shooting has not been determined.

Initial reports from police appear to indicate that a car drove up to the home. Someone got out of the car and opened fire directly at Slater.

But even as the Chicago Police Department reported a decrease in both shootings and homicides during the month of April compared to last year, some anti-violence advocates said they’re worried about what they’ve been seeing on the streets over the last couple of weeks.

“That’s almost summer numbers, but we’re not in the summer yet,” Price said. “But what should be we expect when summer really comes out and people really get a chance to go out?”

According to police, Slater’s 27-year-old companion was also injured, shot once in the leg. He is now recovering at Christ hospital.

No arrests had been made as of Sunday morning.

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