Young Brownsville Shooting Survivor Speaks Out; Community Calls For End To Gun Violence

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the family of a slain Brooklyn mother of 12 plans her funeral, another family is counting their blessings knowing their loved one could have been killed also.

Zurana Horton died instantly when bullets hit her in the face and chest, but thanks to her, 11-year-old Cheanne McKnight was only shot in the cheek and arm.

Horton was killed Friday afternoon as she shielded a group of children from a gunman who opened fire from a rooftop behind I.S. 298.

Cheanne’s story is an incredible one. She managed to take a bullet to the face and not only survive, but is now telling her story. She’s now among so many the in Brownsville community, who are desperate for the violence to end.

“I heard gunshots, and before I got to run, the bullet had hit me in my face,” McKnight told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.

The bandage covering the young girl’s cheek shows just how close she came to losing her life.

“It was burning, it was hot,” McKnight said. “I put my sweater over my face and I went in the store and I asked for a paper towel and I put it on my face and I went in an ambulance.”

Cheanne was leaving school Friday when she got caught in the middle of what police now believe was a gang-related shootout, just steps from the school.  She was shot in the face, Another woman was shot in the arm and the 34-year-old Horton was shot in the head and killed.

Witnesses said Horton died trying to shield children from gunfire.

mom Young Brownsville Shooting Survivor Speaks Out; Community Calls For End To Gun Violence

Zurana Horton (credit: CBS 2)

“And it ain’t fair a woman had to die to save my child because that woman tried to save my child,” said Cheanne’s mother, Harriett. “I think something should have been done about this because the day before they was shooting, so these corners should have been covered with police.”

Doctors say the little girl’s physical scars will heal. But her emotional ones will likely take much longer.

“I’m not coming back, I’m transferring my school,” Cheanne said. “I think it’s not fair that kids gotta walk to school and be scared to know that something might happen to them like how it happened to me.”

Most of Horton’s 12 children, ranging in age from one to 18, will be raised by their grandparents.  Horton’s mother, Denise Peace, said that she is now taking care of 7 of the children.

“They’re taking it very hard, very hard. The baby’s missing her awful a lot. The baby’s missing her, she’s used to cuddling with her mother,” Peace said.  “I’m so glad for her saving the children that was there, I’m glad of that.”

Meanwhile, Rev. Al Sharpton and other community leaders said it was time for people to rise up against gun violence after the deadly shooting.  Sharpton met with Horton’s family on Monday, echoing calls for police and residents to stem the tide of violence.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“I’m hoping somebody help find out what happened to my daughter,” said Peace. “This is the third child I’ve lost from gunshots. I’m really going to miss my daughter.”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

“Her daughter is a hero. A hero because she put herself in harm’s way and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Sharpton.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell With The Victim’s Godmother and Rev. Sharpton

Monday afternoon outside the school where the shooting happened, mothers hustled their children away — clearly, on edge as police made their presence known. Parents say it is still not enough.

“I think everybody want to have change, but don’t know what to do,” said parent Robin Chambers.

A memorial is growing where Horton lost her life as community activists rallied Monday, saying enough is enough. Many say they’re going to start policing their own neighborhood to try to end the violence.

“It’s going to take an army to stop the war that’s happening in our community right now,” said one man at the rally.

“Maybe this senseless act can wake this city up,” Sharpton said. “It’s us involved in behavior that is despicable and we need the community to stop.”

About 100 residents marched Sunday night in Brownsville to honor Horton’s bravery and to demand that the violence stop.

“She didn’t even think. She stepped in front of those kids and she saved them and she didn’t deserve to die like that,” said Brownsville resident April Grant.

“She could be the one, just by her loss, who can bring all of us together and demand what we need. Respect for one another, and respect of life,” said NYC Councilwoman Darlene Mealy.

Monday night, lawmakers and activists are planning to meet in Brownsville and hammer out a 12-point plan to make the community safer.  A $12,000 reward is offered for information that leads to the arrest of the gunman.

Please leave a comment below…

  • James

    This story is very sad. Children should not feel scared in their own neighborhood. That being said the neighborhood has some power to stop this violence. The police are not perfect but they are only as good as the information they have. Start speaking up and telling the police who is committing these crimes and soon criminals and thugs will not feel like they are protected by the same community they are terrorizing. There are far more good people than criminals and it is up to the good people to speak up for what they know is right.

  • wow

    I’m glad that the people of Brownsville have decided to stand up against violence. Neighborhoods can be turned around if the people who live there care enough to do anything about it. You’ll how quick these shooting stop when people START snitching..

  • bullett

    Love the comment from Sharpton. “Time for people to rise up against gun violence”. I guess the Rev. Al did not want to stand on the same street corner where Ms. Horton was killed, preaching and not knowing that some hot lead may be coming his way.

  • Pappy

    Aside from this unfortunate incident, reading the comments reveals what a pathetic world we live in. God help us all.

    • John L

      God has nothing to do with this.

      Religion is a fairy tale

  • Ace


  • Joe Schmo

    If only the Confederates had prevailed……………………………………

  • Bryante

    It could have been anybody…Why are some of you focussing on how many children she had…that’s not the issue….The violence here and around the world is the bigger issue… What are we going to do about it…..

  • Boomer

    Why are we hating on this poor woman? She did the best she could in her life, she don’t know not to have baby after baby after baby, she is a product of years of racism, she dion’t know nothing else. Stop hating her, she dead now

  • Jack in Ga

    The problem isn’t the guns. The problem is the character and maturity level of the people living in this community. If there are criminals that have no respect for the community then a gun in the hands of a homeowner who is defending his property will remove the aforementioned criminal from this world.

    Seriously we don’t blame cars for all of the deaths that occur in vehicles every year. What about drunk drivers? Do the Mothers against drunk drivers have anti-car demonstrations? of course not, they point out people are the cause of the deaths. So why is it so many Americans refuse to put the blame where it should be and that’s on criminals?

  • Jesse

    Jesus Christ! 12 kids! And everyone of them on welfare, no doubt. Unreal. Only in America. Only in the hood.

    • Dia

      i know going to NYU night school. had a job at a law firm and taking care of children. Only in the hood right? you seem to have a type of ignorance that seems to be incurable

  • don

    sam on your deathbed you will surely cry for mercy like all simialar non believers God will not hear you

  • luvenlust


    • Mobius

      She’s a mortar. Yes, she da bomb.

  • YDIVA1

    i hope the dumb comments are coming from children whom do not know any better…watch your mouth

    • John L

      Nope, I am grown man who pay his own bills and did not have chikdren I could not afford. Now Zurana was living off my tax dollars, so I have a right to pass judgement on the way she lived. She was ghetto trash…

      • Val

        Why not learn to write and speakl proper English before passing judgement?

      • badman

        and you, John, are low rent white trash. it’s all relative. you think you’re better than this woman? I’m better than you. how’s that feel, you fat loser?

        • John L

          Ouch… you don’t know me, and what I am all about. But, I DO know this ghetto Welfare mom (newly deceased)- wanna learn sumfin’?

          1. Her eldest kid is 18, and she was 34… do the math to figure out when she first got pregnant.
          2. Continued to have ELEVEN more in the next 14+ years
          3. From the first pic on this page, appeared pregnant yet again.

          Question: How did she support these kids?
          Answer: Tax dollars… well, probably not yours, you seem too stupid to hold a job

          • badman

            yeah, I do know you. you’re a self-hating coward. that’s clear from your posts.

            I’m guessing the reason for your very motivated anger is actually that your woman either cheated on you or is a fat slob. which is it?

            • 1010winslib

              Relax and go cash your welfare check, you’ll feel better. Truth hurts, doesn’t it?

            • John L

              Really, that’s all you have?

              You have failed, please try again.

          • Michael H.

            Do you have proof that the fathers were not paying child support? Perhaps she had help from the grandparents who will now be raising these kids. You have nothing to backup your claims except for your prejudice. Pathetic.

            • John L

              Not pathetic, but brutally honest…

              Statistically, the odds are with me, overwhelmingly, that she was a welfare mom. I could be wrong, but very very doubtful.

              And the kids’ grandparents were helping financially? I guess… if there were more than one babydaddy, there could be many different sets of grandparents helping out, so the burden could be shared. Guess you are right Michael H, I was wrong…

  • Bridget

    It amazes me that people are just so ignorant and fools (ig: Jim, Don & John). This woman died protecting other peoples children. I guarantee if this woman took a bullet protecting one of your children you would not be writing about how many children that woman has and at what age. Some people have no sense of decency. Show some respect.

    • FlipNYC

      Questioning how many kids she has is not about decency or lack thereof. In this day & age, how about using birth control!! I’m sure she was on food stamps, etc. so we, the tax payers are funding her 13 kids. Don’t give me crap about how she was shielding other kids and if it was my kid I wouldn’t quetion it. I’d still question it because now who is left to financially support her kids???? Oh yeah, WE THE TAXPAYERS!!!!

      • Sam

        @FlipNYC, Bridget is right , your response makes me think that something is wrong with you mentally. A mother and her unborn child died in an act of bravery and you respond like this. Well guess what, whoever is taking care of this womans children now will still get welfare, food stamps, full medical care on the taxpayers dime. So what is changing?. Not the fact that you are the biggest a$$hole in history. There is a time and place for talking welfare reform and now is not the time.

        • Sam

          Oh and I am not the sam below.

  • VY

    Rallies won’t do anything.
    Ony the people who live with the people who carry guns can do anything.
    Those people living with gun carriers must start turning in those gun carriers.
    Yes, that might mean turning in a son or daughter or husband.
    Yes that’s a terrible moral delema to be in.
    But only that will stop the gun violence.
    That is why it’s so hard to do.
    It means some mother who sees her 16 year old carrying a gun has to turn in her son.
    Very hard to do, but that’s the only answer in gun infested areas.

  • Surfin Bird

    13 kids in her early 30s


    i guess you are an athiest! it’s a terrible thing not to fear the LORD JESUS CHRIST! keep on making comments like that! you better read the bible and see what Gods wrath is about! you better “REPENT”!

    • don

      I to love the Lord In his Ten Commanments He comdems adultry and fornication. She must face her judgement . These comanments help separate us from the animals like pigs and goats. May she rest in peace and welfare workers locate the animal fathers of these orphans.

      • Sam

        There is no god.. stop the batfoolery already. Stop the hate and negative comments. An innocent woman is dead. I’ll bet anything that the ones posting negative crap are most likely christians/catholic or some sort of fanatical religious nut case. God is nothing more than mind control.. Fools.. Sheeple. One life taken is one too many. If there is a god and hell, all of you will surely go burn.. SMH!!..

        • saint

          so who do you think created Heaven and Earth and the human race and the air you breath to live! Man is without excuse not to believe in God! Remember God is the only JUDGE!

          • LiberalsRDopes

            Take your meds…No one cares about your imaginary, super hero

  • Big Al

    Some of these comments are heartless. If the LADY had 40 kids, that would not detract from how heroic it is to take a bullet for someone. The is true heroism.

    A minor correction (I think) for those who think the rally is against “guns” – its not. Its against “gun violence”, which I think we can all appreciate. I have no doubt that some folks who are anti-gun will try to use this as a “see what happens” moment, but there is a very small chance that the shooter was a law abiding citizen, so whether guns are legal or not would have had no consequence on in this matter.

  • FlipNYC

    How do you have 13 kids at the age of 34??? Started having kids at 16. How was she supporting them? Where are the fathers?? Let’s face it, she had “baby daddy’s” all over the place. Disgusting

    • EB


  • Revelator

    It’s time to take some responsibility in the community. We need to want better lives. The truth is ignorance is at the root of this problem. Men and Women need to learn to act like Men and Women, not savages. We’ve been marching and talking about stop the violence for some 20 years. We need to turn off the music, put away the drugs and get in school, build our businesses and act like human beings. I am sick of this sh!t. Take off those doo rags, sports jerseys and pull your pants up! It’s time.

    • don


  • saint

    remember there’s a God in heaven which is JESUS CHRIST! THATS GOING TO JUDGE YOU FOR THAT COMMENT! God have mercy on your soul!

    • DCLaw-1

      Willl Jesus judge her as harshly for having thriteen children out-of-wedlock?

    • John L

      God has nothing to do with this hoodrat not keeping her legs closed.

  • kevin

    Lord have mercy,have a rally for planned parenthood,12 kids, who’s going to pay to take care of them now,oh wait,we were doing it along

    • V.C

      The killer saved us from a few more future welfare kids to pay for.

    • friend

      you mean Murder, not planned parent hood.

  • lloyd

    I know you libs want to blame the gun for this terrible act of violence. But the gun was not to blame it was the idiot behind the gun. Quit blaming things that have no ability to do things on their own and blame society for producing people who have no morals and no conscience. Blame parents who are not taking their parental responsibility seriously and trained their children to differentiate between right and wrong. Blame a society that teaches it’s someone else’s fault.

  • Carla Jen McCarthy

    That poor woman! Protecting children and carrying one, she shouldn’t have been the target.

  • DCLaw-1

    Tragic on many different levels. Far from being an NRA faithful, it would seem that rallying against an inanimate object is off base. Maybe politically more palatable, but still off base. How about a rally against the animlas that indiscriminately commit acts of violence with complete disregard from the people around them. Also, the rally should be against the majority of these communities that willl not cooperate witth the police by identifying these animals and get them off of the streets.

  • Hector Suarez

    This is a heart wrenching story that demands attention from top city brass. This is unacceptable and it must stop. The city only cares about money, which is translating into an increase in violence in the city. NY is not only Manhattan & S.I.& Qns. Brooklyn and the Bronx also deserve a better quality of life. Dam it people lets get it together. Innocent children are dieing out here.

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