Zurana Horton, 34, was hailed as a hero Friday after she was shot in the chest while shielding a group of children from bullets fired from a Brownsville rooftop.
Also wounded were 11-year-old Cheanne McKnight, who suffered a grazed right cheek, and Unique Armstead, 31, a Brooklyn mother who was shot in the left arm after picking up her son from Public School 298.
Cops were still hunting for the gunman and a second suspect. The shooting is believed to be gang-related.
By the afternoon, a makeshift memorial honoring Horton had formed at the scene outside Lucky Supermarket on Watkins St., consisting of 14 candles, three stuffed animals and a few cards with handwritten notes inside.
“From a mother to a mother, thank you,” one of them read.
“That’s my baby! My baby is gone!” Zurana’s mother Denise Peace wailed before leaving her courageous daughter’s apartment.
“I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.”
Horton’s loved ones said the devoted mother of 13 lived for her children. They ranged in age from 1 to 18.
“She gave her life for those kids, and she would have done it all again because that’s just the kind of person she was,” said Horton’s ex-boyfriend, O’Niel Vaughn, 43, the father of eight of the children, three of whom are disabled.
Vaughn said his children’s mother had long talked about moving her family out of the crime-infested neighborhood. She had 14 kids, but lost one to pneumonia three years ago.
“She was worried about the violence,” Vaughn said. “She said she wanted to move and buy a house for her kids. Those kids were her life.”
Many of Horton’s kids still didn’t know late yesterday that their mother was dead, Vaughn said.
“I didn’t tell the younger kids yet,” said Vaughn, who lives with the three disabled kids, while the rest lived with Horton. “The older ones know. They’re devastated.”
The tragic loss of a child is all too familiar to Zurana’s mother Denise as this is the third child she’s lost.
In 1991, she lost her 16-year-old son, Quan, who was shot in a robbery for his “8-ball” jacket in Bushwick. Another son, Zacquran, was shot and killed in the same neighborhood last year.
“I’m so mad that I get numb,” Peace said. “I don’t know how I feel. I have to be strong for my grandchildren. I have not broken down yet.”
Zurana’s murder can prove to be a newly found awakening for the violence plagued Brownsville neighborhood as members of the community are now voicing their frustrations with the living conditions.
More than 100 people gathered to remember Zuranna Horton, 34, at the scene of her shocking slaying near a Brooklyn school and demanded that anyone with information about her murder come forward.
“It’s not snitching, it’s saving a life!” crowd members roared.
Residents placed candles, teddy bears and other memorabilia near the scene of Horton’s murder while comforting her eldest daughter, Jenisha.
The 15-year-old wept as she approached the scene and hugged strangers who swooped in to offer her comfort.
“This needs to stop now,” said resident Antonio Redman. “An innocent mother is killed picking her kids up from school. These jerk punks need to pay for this.”
Spurred by Horton’s murder, residents have planned an anti-violence march near the scene of the crime tomorrow morning