Nykea Aldridge: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Nykea Aldridge, Dwayne Wade cousin

Nykea Aldridge. (Facebook/Nykea Aldridge)

The cousin of Chicago Bulls basketball star Dwyane Wade who was shot and killed in Chicago while pushing a baby stroller was a mother of four who was studying early childcare and development.

Nykea Aldridge is Wade’s first cousin, said Chicago Patch. Patch says that Aldridge, 32, was caught in the crossfire as she pushed the stroller carrying her newborn baby on August 26.

On August 28, Chicago police announced they had arrested brothers Derren and Darwin Sorrells in the homicide, accusing the men of being repeat criminals and gang members. Derren was wearing an ankle bracelet, and Darwin was on parole at the time of the shooting, said police.

Dwyane Wade’s mother, Jolinda, a pastor, gave an emotional statement to the news media in which she said the family would continue its proactive efforts to stop gun violence in Chicago. The slaying comes the day after Wade and his mother appeared on a panel about gun violence. Dwyane Wade made a series of emotional tweets about his cousin’s murder and imploring people to help Chicago youth, whom he said are “screaming for help.”

Donald Trump used the murder to make a political statement on August 27, drawing heated criticism:

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Some on social media criticized Trump’s Tweet for mentioning himself and politicizing Aldridge’s murder, as well as his misspelling of Dwyane’s first name. Actor Don Cheadle tweeted that Trump was a “POS.” Trump then put out a second Tweet correcting the spelling and a third that said:

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Aldridge Was Going to an Elementary School Nearby to Register Her Children For Classes & Dwayne Wade Tweeted ‘Enough Is Enough’

nykea aldridge

A photo from Nykea’s Facebook page. (Facebook/Nykea Aldridge)

Aldridge was shot in the head and arm around 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, said Chicago Patch. Dwyane Wade weighed in emotionally on Twitter a few hours later:

The following morning, he made a series of other Tweets:

Dulles Elementary School is near the shooting. Pastor Edward Jones, a relative and family spokesperson, told Chicago 5 that Aldridge had just had a baby and “recently relocated to the neighborhood and she was on her way to register her kids at school when she was shot.”

Dwyane Wade’s mother, Jolinda, was on a panel discussing gun violence just the day before Aldridge was shot.

Now it turns out, according to police, that the men who allegedly killed Aldridge had repeatedly been in trouble with the law; both brothers under arrest were felons on parole and one of them was wearing an inactive ankle bracelet at the time, said police. The police spokesman also said on Twitter that one of the men was a documented member of the Gangster Disciples street gang.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the Chicago Tribune: “This tragedy isn’t just noteworthy because Ms. Aldridge has a famous family member. Rather, it shows that the cycle of arrests, convictions and parole isn’t changing the behavior of those who repeatedly commit crimes.”

2. Aldridge Was a Mother of Four & ‘Just Wanted a Better Life’

Nykea Aldridge

Nykea Aldridge was Dwyane Wade’s first cousin. (Facebook/Nykea Aldridge)

WGN said Aldridge was 32-years-old and a mother of four children. The infant in the stroller was not injured.

“She loved God, loved her family,” Jones said to Chicago 5. “Just like everyone else, just wanted a better life, to live a better life. This is tragic because now it struck home with us. Something has to be done. This has got to stop.”

The family spoke to the Chicago news media after the shooting, calling it a “senseless killing that has to stop.”

Wade was not in town when the slaying occurred, but family members said he was in contact with them and devastated, according to The New York Daily News.

“Just sat up on a panel yesterday, The Undefeated, talking about the violence that’s going on within our city of Chicago, never knowing that the next day we would be the ones that would be actually living and experiencing it,” Jolinda Wade said. “…We are now in a very, very sensitive grieving place…we are still going to be proactive…we are still going to help and empower people like the one who senselessly shot my niece in the head…we’re still going to help these people to transform their minds and give them a different direction.”

Wade has spoken about gun violence and racial profiling in recent months.

Jolinda Wade said Nykea was the second child her sister had lost to gun violence. Dwyane Wade also appeared on the panel with his mother the day before the shooting, discussing gun violence, but he appeared via satellite, said ESPN.

3. A Man Walking Nearby Was the Intended Target Police Say & They Called Aldridge an ‘Innocent Party’

Nykea Aldridge

Nykea Aldridge. (Facebook/Nykea Aldridge)

ABC 7 said, “Police said two men approached another man… and opened fire around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300-block of South Calumet.”

It appears Nykea was caught in the crossfire and was not the target, news reports said. The New York Daily News said that two men started firing “indiscriminately.”

“Our victim is an innocent party to this senseless shooting,” police said in a news conference. “She was just leaving Dulles school, walking down the street. And as she was walking down the street, some type of altercation occurred that did not belong her. Shots were fired in this altercation.”

Watch a police news conference on the shooting:

“We are talking to a couple of individuals who were in the area,” the police said. “Right now we don’t know what their involvement is, and we’re trying to hash out and verify their story.”

One of them might have been detained by eyewitnesses in a nearby grocery store, news accounts said. Police did not confirm or deny that account, though. “We have a number of subjects that we are interviewing right now,” police said.

Mourners erected a memorial in Aldridge’s honor, calling her a “great woman.”

A relative came to the scene and took the baby from the stroller, The Chicago Tribune said.

Police now say_ that the men were allegedly targeting a man who said he was a Uber driver but who was really acting independently and who made eye contact with one of the brothers.

4. Police Are Questioning Two People & the Shooting Might be Gang-Related or a Robbery

Nykea Aldridge

Nykea Aldridge. (Facebook/Nykea Aldridge)

Chicago 5 says police are investigating whether the shooting stemmed from a gang feud. Police were questioning two people in the slaying, said The Chicago Tribune.

Then, on Sunday, police announced that the Sorrells’ brothers were charged with murder and attempted murder in the case.

The Tribune said that police are also looking into whether the shooting stemmed from an attempted robbery. The Tribune also quoted a police spokesperson as saying authorities were considering whether “the young mother was struck as she walked near an unfolding robbery, or a case of mistaken identity involving an Uber driver.”

Aldridge was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to ABC News.

5. Aldridge Was Studying Early Childcare & Development & She Is One of More than 2,000 Chicago Victims of Gun Violence This Year Alone

Nykea Aldridge

Nykea Aldridge. (Facebook/Nykea Aldridge)

On Facebook, Aldridge said she was studying early childhood care & development at Kenny King college.

Family members told The Chicago Tribune that she was a “gifted writer, fashionista and the ‘fighter of the family.'”

More than 2,600 people have been shot in the city, said ESPN, adding that “Chicago is on pace to record its largest number of homicides since 1997, when 761 people were killed in the city.”

ESPN noted that Wade’s mother was a drug dealer when he grew up in South Side Chicago, but she “gave up drugs and turned her life around after being released from prison in 2003. Now a pastor, she sees the problems that contribute to the violence in the communities.”

Wade’s mother is planning a Sunday prayer service for Nykea at the church where she is a pastor, says The New York Daily News. The Daily News said Dwyane Wade’s nephew Darin Johnson “survived after taking two bullets in the leg in March 2012.”