On March 29, while she sat inside her apartment playing cards with family and friends, a 22-year-old mother of four said multiple bullets came flying through her window, leaving her 17-year-old sister wounded and requiring surgery.
Mikala Mosley said thankfully her four small children were not in the lower section of her apartment where the bullets entered. Her sister was on the couch playing DJ with music from YouTube when the hail of bullets came flying through her kitchen window.
"When I heard the first shot, I also heard glass breaking. I heard shot after shot and glass breaking. My youngest daughter's father's nephew and two others were inside of the apartment playing cards. They fell on the floor. I didn't believe someone was shooting in my apartment. I kind of sat there. I counted five holes in my window," Mosley said. After Illinois State Police crime-scene technicians came in and looked around, Mosley says she found a sixth bullet hole.
Describing her sister's injury from the bullets, Mosley said: "The bullet went in her arm and came out right above her elbow. And she was grazed in the back."
Investigating the crime
Mosley said so far police have not said whether they have a suspect or a motive. Mosley said she doesn't have any issues with anyone and does not think she was targeted.
But East St. Louis Detective Sgt. Gilda Johnson and Cortez Slack, chief of public safety for the East St. Louis Housing Authority, said preliminary information indicates the shooting appears to have been targeted to Mosley's apartment.
Slack said public safety officers received a call March 29 at 11:20 p.m. about shots fired at the Gompers building. When the officers arrived, occupants inside the unit indicated that multiple gunshots came from outside into the apartment, and a 17-year-old was hit.
Slack said preliminary information "indicates this is an isolated incident to this apartment. We are working hard, and cooperating with police to get the person arrested who committed this crime."
The shooting might have been related to an incident that happened earlier in the day in Alorton, according to East St. Louis police, but Slack said he could not elaborate. Johnson also declined to talk about the Alorton angle.
Mosley said she was aware of the Alorton incident that police mentioned. She said the two are separate incidents and that her apartment was not targeted as a result of the Alorton incident.
'We don't have emergency transfers'
Mosley wants the police to find the shooter and she wants Mildred Motley, the executive director of the East St. Louis Housing Authority, to move her and her children to another apartment to protect them.
"The safety of my kids comes first. They said I have to be placed on a waiting list because there are people ahead of me. Because of what happened, I feel like they should be able to transfer me right away," Mosley said.
Mosley said she will keep requesting to be moved although she doesn't know whether it will happen. "I can't afford to go anywhere else. And I am not comfortable with my family in that apartment," she said.
Motley confirmed that she and a manager did speak to Mosley. Motley said she explained how the Housing Authority's process works when people request transfers.
"When you request a transfer, you go on a waiting list unless it is a domestic violence case. We don't have emergency transfers. We don't transfer people and place them on top of the list based on the circumstance we have here," Motley said. She said in cases of devastation, like flooding in a unit, the Housing Authority would make an immediate transfer.
Motley added: "I am always concerned about the lives of all of our residents. We have had other people in similar situations. We have to investigate to determine whether an individual is a target or a victim. The police are doing an investigation."
Mosley thinks the safety of her four small children should be a higher priority in a location where she says gunshots are frequent.
"It's ridiculous that they are not trying to help me and my kids. I can't afford to go anywhere else, but I can't stay there. I am fearful for my children," Mosley said. "They shoot out here all of the time. They need to do something about the shooting that goes on out here."
Addressing the shootings in the housing complex, Motley said, "We hear gunshots when we are in here (her office building). Just because we hear gunshots doesn't necessarily mean people are shooting at someone." Slack said sometimes people drive by, shoot in the air to let people know they have a gun, and keep going.
Motley said Mosley is not the first resident who has requested a transfer because of shots being fired toward a residence.
"It's unfortunate. But, it's not just a public housing issue," Motley said.