ALGIERS, La. (WGNO) — A somber and serious conversation at the vigil for 18-year-old Edna Karr athlete Keyron “Tootie” Ross.
“Tootie was a jokester, he was a phenomenal athlete, he was just a good person, a good-hearted person,” said Makita Wells-Hartford, Keyron’s mom.
Ross, a football and baseball player at Karr, was shot to death last week on Texas Drive in Algiers. Another teenager whose promising life was abruptly ended by gun violence.
“It’s not just a Karr issue, it’s a New Orleans issue, and it’s a New Orleans problem. We have to find a way for these kids to find a better way to get out their frustrations and anger other than murder,” said Wells-Hartford.
Dozens of people came together to remember ross and to call for an end to the bloodshed, including city leaders who are working to find solutions to youth violence.
“I spoke to a school, some students, a week ago and they quite frankly said that no one cares about us. And I don’t believe that’s true, but the fact that’s how they feel says a lot,” said Freddie King III, New Orleans Councilman for District C,
Ross’s mom says what make’s her son’s death even more difficult is she believes the suspect was a friend.
“You had no reason to murder my baby. You sat at my table, you know, I fed you, what was your reason?” said Wells-Hartford.
Attendees, teary eyed and heartbroken over the loss of Tootie, bowed their heads as speakers prayed for healing in Algiers, pleading to the youth to put the guns down.
Police have not made an arrest in Ross’s case but his mother tells me they do have a suspect. Ross’s mom says he was going to be a father in just two months to a baby boy.