Home Local ‘Mom’s been shot’: Family struggles with circumstances surrounding woman’s slaying

‘Mom’s been shot’: Family struggles with circumstances surrounding woman’s slaying

by staff

Tracey Showers drove to Jewel to pick up her daughter from work, and grabbed a loaf of bread and carton of orange juice for good measure.

The pair rode to their home together, side by side in the SUV. Showers called her husband to let her know they were almost home, he said.


She was in good spirits. She parked at the rear of her Austin residence. But within seconds, she was shot in the head.

Showers, 55, was killed outside her Austin home on Feb. 28 in an act of violence seemingly random and stunning for its brazenness.


Now authorities have alleged the slaying was the culmination of an alleged crime spree that prosecutors say started with an armed robbery in Oak Park. Baseer Muhammad, 23, robbed a couple at gunpoint and took the keys to their Audi, prosecutors alleged, along with an accomplice who took part, even though his movements were tracked to the scene via an electronic-monitoring bracelet.

Muhammad continued on the spree alone, according to prosecutors, driving away in the stolen SUV. He exited the vehicle, prosecutors said, walked up to a man sitting in a car and fired four shots. The man was unhurt.

Finally, prosecutors say, he pulled up next to Showers’ SUV and shot her.

“It happened right outside our home,” her husband, Pernell Showers, said. “I don’t understand what triggered this. I don’t understand why it happened.”

Muhammad is charged with first-degree murder in the killing, along with other felonies in connection with the alleged spree of violence prior to the death. A Cook County judge ordered held him without bail on Saturday. An attorney for Muhammad did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the night his wife was killed, Pernell Showers was home upstairs when he heard his 24-year-old daughter scream. As he rushed down the stairs, his daughter called him on the phone.

“Mom’s down,” she said, according to Showers. “Mom’s been shot.”

Outside, he saw his wife laying on the ground, with his daughter holding her. He checked for a pulse, and found none. He tried CPR. Police arrived and asked him to step back.


“We’ve got people who may or may not have issues, may or may not be functioning correctly, roaming around with guns and violence in their hearts,” Showers said. “No reason, no rhyme.”

Chicago police detectives used large swaths of surveillance video and the data from the alleged robbery accomplice’s electronic monitoring bracelet to track Muhammad from the first robbery to the killing nearly 3 miles away, according to a proffer to the court during Muhammad’s bond hearing. A request for comment from Muhammad’s lawyer was not immediately returned.

It started in the 200 block of Madison Street in Oak Park, when a husband and wife parked a silver Audi Q5 and started walking, according to the proffer. They were confronted by two masked men, Muhammad and the accomplice, prosecutors alleged, who showed handguns and robbed them of a bag, wallets, a cellphone and keys to the Audi.

Surveillance video captured Muhammad and the accomplice leave the accomplice’s home, blocks from where the married couple parked the Audi, the proffer said. It picked them up again, in the same clothes, walking toward the married couple. The accomplice’s electronic monitoring bracelet, ordered by a judge in connection with a pending gun charge, tracked him to the location of the robbery, the proffer said.

A statement from the Cook County sheriff’s office said monitoring staff noticed he left his home site and called him to order him back home, where he returned.

The alleged accomplice hasn’t been charged in connection with the robbery, and did not participate in the later shootings, court documents say. A spokesperson for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said police are still investigating. Cook County prosecutors have requested a hearing over his release status, alleging he violated the terms of his release earlier this month.


Electronic monitoring ankle bracelets transmit a GPS location for defendants, who may be allowed by a judge to attend work, school or other functions deemed necessary. The county’s electronic monitoring program has occasionally become a political flashpoint by city leaders faced with addressing gun violence, with Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2021 calling on judges to stop releasing people charged with violent crimes on electronic monitoring.

A Tribune analysis though found that Lightfoot and other police leaders relied on flawed information when calling for crime reduction policies that involve jailing more people.

For Pernell Showers, it was the audacity of the robbery — allegedly committed while electronic monitoring tracked their movements — that struck him.

“Given the fact that you’re being tracked, somehow you still did this?” Pernell Showers said. “You’re not aware, or unafraid, it could be brought back to you? It just seems senseless.”

Surveillance video showed Muhammad and the second man drive away in the Audi, and then video picked up the men running with items from the robbery near the alleged accomplice’s home, the proffer said. Later, surveillance video captured Muhammad alone leaving an alley near the entrance to the other man’s home and walk toward the last location of the Audi, the proffer said. Electronic monitoring showed the alleged accomplice remained home.

Surveillance video from the Austin and Central Green Line stations captured the Audi traveling down the street, and private surveillance video picked it up again in the 1400 block of North Lorel Avenue.


A man was sitting in his car alone on Lorel, when he reported he saw the SUV stop. Muhammad got out, walked to the man’s car and fired at him, the proffer alleges.

Surveillance video then tracked the Audi as it made its way to Tracey Showers’ home.

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Pernell Showers no longer parks in the back of his home, instead keeping his car elsewhere to avoid the place where his wife was killed. It’s hard to be in the house, he said, but the family also wants to hang onto the good memories they made in 18 years living there.

The charges filed in the case brought some relief, he said, but anger as well. He struggles to understand the randomness of the shooting, but knows the cycles of violence in the city.

“I don’t know how something like this could actually happen. Well, I know how it happens,” he said. “It’s not even the summer.”

Tracey Showers loved her three grown children, he said. She delivered food to elderly people homebound at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She volunteered at a local food pantry.


“She was very giving of her time,” her husband said.

In June, they would have celebrated 20 years of marriage.


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