"Please help me!" Chester woman shares her story

- The "For Sale" sign in the front window of Aisha Peterson's home on Beverly Lane in Chester sits just a few feet away from the latest bullet hole to shatter her blinds. Aisha is what you would call a motivated seller. 

FOX 29's Bruce Gordon asked Peterson if she wants out.

"Yes, of course," she blurted. "Yes. Yes. Yes."

Back in 2010, Peterson was among more than 40 first-time homebuyers attracted by a sales pitch at the new Wellington Heights development.  With a new professional soccer stadium nearby, and a casino bringing in tax revenue, Chester officials promised better times were ahead for this embattled city.

Cecelia Hand and Erica Smack are Aisha's friends and neighbors and say they bought the same sales pitch.
Then, they noticed the sounds of gunfire. Over time, it got closer and more frequent. 

Now, "I have bars on my windows," said Smack.

"Something that we never thought was going to happen," said Hand, "and I'm angry."

Shell casings litter Aisha Peterson's lawn and pock-mark her vinyl siding. On Sunday, gunfire left Aisha scrambling up her stairs to protect her 9-year-old daughter Amorie.

"And when I heard the 'pop' I went like this and at this point I'm starting to crawl up the stairs. And I'm screaming to my daughter to get down so I can get her here because I heard a pop."

A bullet lodged in the wall after grazing her shoulder. 

As for little Amorie...

"My daughter don't want to come here, (to the house).  My daughter is at school worrying about her mom.  That's not fair!"

Part of Aisha wants desperately to sell her home and put all of the violence behind her. But she cannot feel good about putting someone else in her predicament.

"What would you do if you were in my situation? I mean I'm stuck! I'm stuck!"

Chester city officials promise to beef up police department staffing in the months ahead. But it can't come fast enough for Aisha, Cecilia and Erica. All three moved to Chester from nearby communities and knew of Chester's violent reputation. But all three gambled that better times were ahead. Now, all three want out.

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