CHICAGO — Zena Walker has lived at the Sawyer Gardens Apartments in Lawndale for the last eight years, but lately, she has been terrified to stay.  

“This building is kids. This building is a family building. We’re not safe. Around her is not safe,” Walker said.

The mother of four told WGN News just before Christmas, more than a dozen shots were fired.

Sawyer Gardens apartment resident Zena Walker pushes open an unsecured door within the building. (Photo: WGN)

“The building shook,” she said.

A few months earlier, a bullet pierced a third-story apartment window with children inside in May. 

Tenant Angela Parker said the bullet went through the window and hit a wall.  

On Mother’s Day weekend, 27-year-old Marquita Davis was shot and killed right in front of the building.

Since then, residents say security has been a concern. According to residents, doors to the back of the building are left open at all hours. At the front entrance, residents used their fingerprints to unlock the door, but the device malfunctioned. Then the building’s key fob system stopped working. 

“We have phones that are supposed to buzz up and buzz people in, but that doesn’t work,” Walker said. “The elevators stay broken.” 

Concerns are heightened as the area is riddled with crime. Since Jan. 1, 2022, Chicago Data Portal shows five murders, 13 non-fatal shootings and 26 armed robberies within a four-block radius. Data also showed 70 assaults, 12 with a handgun and 12 burglaries. 

“They say the cameras aren’t working, so they can’t really do anything about what’s going on,” Parker said. “Security? We don’t have security in our building.”

Cook County records show Heartland Sawyer Gardens bought the property in 2020. 

Residents say a new landlord recently took over and is making new keys but charging $50 for each one.  

In the meantime, many tenants say they are worried someone else could get hurt.  

“We don’t get any type of support. We have people running in and out of this building, God knows, with our lives being put in jeopardy,” Walker said.  

WGN News reached out to the building landlord and is awaiting a response. WGN News also reached out to Ald. Michelle Scott (24th Ward) said she is aware and currently looking into the issue.