Mom Shot to Death While Trying to Shield Schoolchildren

crime scene tape imageAre you ready for a heartbreakingly tragic story? A New York City mom was shot and killed Friday when a shower of bullets rained down on children just after they got out of school. Zurana Horton, only 34 years old, had been trying to protect some of the kids when she was shot in the chest and face, police said. She never even made it to the hospital and was pronounced dead at the scene. An unrelated 11-year-old girl was also hurt in the gunfire, as was a 31-year-old woman.

Cops think the shooting -- which, sadly, happened in a terribly crime-ridden section of Brooklyn -- was related to a street fight between rival groups of teens. So far they haven't caught the low-life who thought it was a good idea to open fire from a rooftop near a school that was letting out for the weekend.

Horton had a number of children of her own and those who knew her called her a devoted mother. And there is no question that she acted heroically and probably saved lives in sacrificing her own.

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The fact that Horton's first instinct wasn't to run for cover, hide, or protect herself is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Instead, she shielded the ones most vulnerable, the kids streaming out of class on what they thought was just another Friday afternoon.

Witnesses actually saw this brave woman trying to block children from being caught in the cross hairs. Police told The New York Times that Horton "was seen moments before she was shot, hovering over several children to protect them as the shots were fired."

These stories always slice right through me because they're so bittersweet. It's beyond heart-wrenching that this ordinary mom, who was so young herself, is dead because of some senseless shooting she happened to be caught in the middle of. And it's beyond admirable what she died for: to protect as many innocent schoolchildren as she could. The fact that she succeeded and no one else died is a miracle, and a testament to her heroism.

But this kind of news also fills me with rage over how often guns needlessly take people's lives. When are we ever going to learn that many of the guns used in crimes have no business in the hands of the people who own them and that tighter laws on who gets to own them are the only way to stop all the devastating injuries and deaths? It angers me that nothing ever seems to change, that life goes on after each new deadly shooting -- until the inevitable next time that a gun in the wrong hands claims another victim.

Zurana Horton is the latest to fall in the gun wars that plague many neighborhoods in the United States, simply because she and a bunch of little kids were in the wrong place at the wrong time. She lost her life far too early and for no good reason. The only silver lining here is that she saved children from losing theirs too. 

What reaction do these kinds of stories trigger in you?

 

Image via alancleaver_2000/Flickr

 

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