NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Neighbors are paying tribute to a mother who died shielding children from rooftop gunfire at a tribute Sunday.

Sunday’s walk for peace had residents, politicians and community activists criss-crossing many of Brownsville’s housing projects. It began at the spot where 34-year-old Zurana Horton was shot and killed by a stray bullet fired from a rooftop during an apparent gang battle.

“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.

The gunshots rained down Friday afternoon as students were leaving P.S. 293. A $12,000 reward is offered for information that leads to the arrest of the gunman.

“I’m going to honor and try to honor her memory in any way possible,” said resident Betty Rincon.

Most of Horton’s 12 children, ranging in age from one to 18, will be raised by their grandparents, Denise Pearce and Kenneth Thompson.

“It’s been fine over the years being grandma, grandpa, but now we have to be mommy and daddy and it’s not something we wanted but it is something God gave us and something we have to do right now,” said Thompson, Horton’s stepfather.

He said many of Horton’s younger kids still don’t know their mother is dead.

The organizers of Sunday’s march vowed that they will make this notorious neighborhood safer.

“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 Councilmember Mealy.

“After all the accolades about her, her children are still going to need help. They need counseling. Some of her children have special needs. We are addressing those issues. We want to get a scholarship to make sure her children have a future,” said NYC Councilwoman Darlene Mealy.

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Comments (6)
  1. Missy says:

    Only GOD can judge! This lady has taken great care of her kids and gave her life to protect them. Dont let these kids fall to the system! It is graceful that the grandparents are available to take care of them, but when will the father of these children step up ? Those kids are in need of parents; unfortunately, they have lost one to violence. The streets and the system has placed these kids in a position to become a victim to violence, the system and the lack of opportunity to have a successful life. Family, communities, the System and GOD, give these kids a chance!

  2. Kathryn says:

    12 children? Paltry, I say!
    She’d have a long way to go to challenge the Duggar Family ( “Children are a blessing from the Lord” Psalms 127).
    Would I have had the courage to put myself between flying bullets and children? I would hope so. I hope her sacrifice makes the world a better place and I wish it hadn’t been necessary for this neighborhood to stand up for themselves.

  3. zenobia m says:

    just to let u know al sharpton was there on sunday

  4. zenobia m says:

    How dare u call her a hood rat she was a friend of mine. She was anything but a hood rat she took good care of her children they have never even been in trouble. She was kind sweet and never even raised her voice so don’t judge people by the number of kids she had all her kids had the same father

  5. s says:

    The police and courts don’t care about gangs and guns in Brownsville. The police and courts have to get tougher and crack down on gang activity. There also needs to be groups like boy scouts in Brownsville where kids can learn responsibility.

  6. Diana D. says:

    Where is the almighty Reverend Al Sharpton on this one?? Shouldn’t he be standing up for this woman as well or is it because there is no racial tension involved?

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