NEW ORLEANS— To date, our city has had about 170 homicides and almost 200 shootings this year. Each of those incidents affects not only the victim, but the families of those victims as well.
Tamara Jackson is Executive Director of Silence is Violence, the non-profit who’s work includes providing support for victims and families of violent crime.
She’s also a victim of gun violence. Her father was murdered and she says, “It’s difficult. You have the memories to hold on to, but wholeheartedly, there’s a piece of you that’s gone and you’re trying to do everything you did before with that absence and its difficult.”
New Orleans has dealt with the epidemic of gun violence for generations, and one group in particular has been affected.
Whenever a homicide occurs in the city, newsrooms get a notification from the coroner’s office with the designation “BM” for black male, and more often than not the cause of death is “GSW” for gunshot wound.
WGNO News met with 3 New Orleans women who lost their sons in a triple murder in September of last year.
Ariane Ashley told us of their frustrations with getting information from police concerning the unsolved murders.
Ashley, mother of Frank Bedell IV said, “We just need answers or I need answers we all need answers, ya know?”
Shevelle Fontenette, lost her son Hassan and because of the pain of that loss, she sometimes finds it difficult to cope.
saind, “I don’t know if I’m supposed to enjoy life. I just have my days, up, down. I don’t want to be happy and he’s not here.”
Tremicion Taylor’s son Khalil was also taken away from their family and she echoed the frustration of the other two mothers regarding information about the investigation
“We don’t know anything about what’s going on with the case. We don’t know a motive, we don’t know… nothing, said Taylor.
Jackson says that what these mothers deal with is far too common and a change in approach and more assets in the system is needed.
According to Jackson, “We need to be on the front end where we can avoid the crimes from happening. Avoid victims from having to navigate the criminal justice system and there’s just a lack of resources in this state.”