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Father Darryl Hammond shares how he copes after losing his daughter to murder

Darryl Hammond and Shannon Marie Elmore (Photo Courtesy: Family)

Darryl Hammond and Shannon Marie Elmore (Photo Courtesy: Family)

Shannon M. Elmore, 20, of Peoria, Illinois died at 9:24 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, at Methodist Medical Center. She left a host of relatives to cherish her memory, including her then-2-year-old daughter, Aniyah Elmore; and her parents, Rhonda Elmore and Darryl Hammond; her grandmothers, Winnie Elmore of Peoria and Laura Hammond of Chicago; her two siblings, Javier Swafford, Jr. and Alyssa Elmore; several aunts and uncles, and many cousins.

A 2009 graduate of Woodruff High School, the former cheerleader was the city’s 13th homicide of the year after being shot on Oct. 10 at North Ellis Street and West Columbia Terrace.

According to Peoria Journal Star, she was in the passenger’s seat of a friend’s car when a man (Wesley Collins, 19) approached the vehicle and opened fire as two other people were switching seats. The man who had been getting into the car’s driver’s seat fled on foot, and the victim’s friend climbed back into the front seat to drive to the hospital.

Here, Elmore’s dad remembers his daughter’s personality and shares how he copes with the loss.

Tell us about your child.
My daughter, Shannon Marie Elmore was born Dec. 23, 1990, to myself and Rhonda Elmore (who is also an ISU alum). Shannon was one of the sweetest people on earth. She was funny, witty and had a great personality. She graduated in 2009 and was looking forward to having a nice life. She had a child (my granddaughter Aniyah) who is now 7 years old. People knew that she was a fun-loving person she loved her family and friends.

What has been the hardest part of dealing with losing a child?
The hardest part about losing a child is that it leaves a void in your heart; I say “hi” to her in heaven every day. It’s the most excruciating pain I’ve ever endured in my life.

Who is to blame for all of this violence?
I can blame a lot of people but it starts at the home. Unfortunately, blaming others will not bring my baby back.

What would you like to say to the person who took the life of your child?
I have nothing to say to him; the anger will not allow it.

What would you like to say to the public? What don’t they understand?
I would like the public to know that losing a child is devastating; my heart aches every day. The toughest part of losing a child is moving on. I feel my photography is my outlet in life. That’s why I am always preaching “memories of a lifetime” because tomorrow is not promised.

I can’t comment on what the public is trying to understand. I don’t know what or how they feel but what I do know is that having a support system is crucial in moving forward.


  1. MsWilliamsWorld on June 13, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Father’s Day has to be tough on Mr. Hammond and other fathers who have lost their children to this senseless and foolish gun violence. God bless him for relying on his faith and family support to get him through!!!

  2. S.Watson on June 13, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    I just had a discussion about this yesterday with Darryls brother. I could never bring myself to ask the family what happened until last night. The description given to me by her uncle was undeniably heartfelt and I felt his pain. I would have loved to have met her but I have had the opportunity to meet her beautiful daughter and her great family. I continue to pray for the Hammond and Elmore family. Father’s Day will always be difficult for Darryl but he knows his baby is in a great place. R.I.H.

  3. Angela Dockery Grier on June 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Losing a child is the #1 hardest loss anyone can ever deal with. I pray for my brother/friend daily! I am so glad he was given a chance to talk about his Princess.<3 <3 Keep soaring thru your Photography!
    I Luv you Bro <3 <3

  4. Julie Annette Jones on June 13, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I pray all the time for Darryl and Rhonda. They are two of the sweetest, kindest people I know and the truly love Shannon. When I heard of her passing my heart literally ached. As a parent, I cannot imagine what they go through daily. I just continue to pray that God provide them with peace that passes all understanding.