Violence and unsolved murders in East St. Louis
Another killing has left another East St. Louis mother grieving.
On August 3, Domonick White was at the Gompers Homes, 450 N. Sixth St., visiting a friend. At 4:30 p.m., police got a call that he had been shot.
“We had officers in the area who heard the shots,” said Cortez Slack, Chief of the East St. Louis Housing Authority safety officers. “They went around to Sixth Street where they found a 34-year-old black male laying on the ground deceased.”
There have been no arrests. East St. Louis Police and Illinois State Police are jointly investigating his death.
Christina White, his mother, received a call from her daughter, who told her that her son was gone.
“I didn’t want to believe it, but when I got down there and saw my other daughter destroyed, I lost it,” White said. “That was my baby boy. I gave birth to him. They took my only male child. They took him from his sisters, nieces, nephews … his entire family.
She said Domonick was her first-born child, but only male child.
“I won’t be able to see them wrestling with him again about who’s going to lay next to me.”
White said Domonick left her house about 11 a.m. on the morning he died.
“He was happy, kidding and joking around with his sisters and two nieces. He gave them some candy. He was messing with his younger sister,” White said. “Then, he went to the store. When he came back, I saw the candy and was joking around with him about it. I said, ‘boy, give me some of that candy.’ He gave me some. He told me to hurry up before the other two came in.”
Those were her final moments with her son.
White said she doesn’t know why someone wanted to end his life.
“He was loved by the young and the old. He worked hard for what he wanted,” she said. “For this to happen, I don’t understand.”
Domonick loved to play video games and his music, and to joke around with his family.
“He gave his life over to the Lord and was going to be baptized August 10,” his mother said. “My baby was turning his life around, making the right decisions. He was tired of living the life he was living …
“People I haven’t heard from in years have been calling me. We are all shocked by this senseless killing. My son was not the kind of person who would hurt anybody and none of us expected this to happen to him.”
White was one of two people shot in East St. Louis on that Saturday.
Kiara Collins, 33, of East St. Louis, was shot near 56th Street and Belmont Avenue in an unrelated incident. Collins died two days later at an area hospital from the bullet wounds.
Police Chief Kendall Perry said investigators have no motive in either shooting.
“It’s just crazy. I am tired of seeing all of these killings,” White said. “We have to stop this senseless gun violence. All of us mothers who have lost our children to gun violence need to come together and work to make sure the police are doing their jobs and trying to find these people with the guns so they cannot put another mother or family in the situation me and my family are in now.”
“It’s just not suppose to happen like this and it seems like every day someone else is found shot to death. Why are people killing each other instead of trying to talk out their differences?”
BEHIND OUR REPORTING
Why did we report this story?
The Belleville News-Democrat is endeavoring to reach out to the families of murder victims to tell their stories beyond just the circumstances of their deaths.
According to a Belleville News-Democrat investigation, there were 453 murders in East St. Louis between 2000 and 2018. Of those, 341 of them (or about 75%) remain unsolved. Of the 112 murders where criminal charges were filed, only 25% resulted in a first-degree murder conviction. About 80% of those violent deaths were caused by gunshots.
Eighty-five percent of the victims were males with an average age of 30 years.
“We have to make the police know we are grieving and to bring closure to our families, we need the killers caught and brought to justice,” White said. “If the people carrying these guns are taken off the street, we can feel safer. We have to put in the work to help ourselves. Our children’s lives matter.”
She and several other victims in other shootings where their loved ones were killed and the shooter remains on the loose, want to know why the Major Case Squad is seldom utilized in cases in East St. Louis and Washington Park. In Belleville, Cahokia and other surrounding municipalities, the unit has a lot of resources and manpower is more prevalent.
White says she wants to meet the shooter so he can tell her why he took her son’s life, what problem there was between them, and why they couldn’t get together and talk it out “man to man.”
“In December, he would’ve turned 35. It’s going to be so tough for me to go to the cemetery on his birthday,” she said. “I will be wishing my baby boy was here to celebrate that day with me. Someone took that happy time from me. I can never get my son back.”