Peacing Together series: Families who have lost loved ones to gun violence
March 12, 2020
Youth violence is the cause of loss for many families. Data provided by the Macon-Bibb County Sheriff’s office show youth violence is on the rise.
According to the data, between March 8, 2016 and July 25, 2019, there were 731 alleged violence crimes in which the suspects identified by the Sheriff’s Office were ages 10-24, and 1,273 alleged crimes in which the victims were ages 10-24.
The families of the victims of youth violence have to live with the loss of their loved ones. A loss that many often feel could have been prevented.
Mothers, grandmothers and family members who have lost loved ones to youth violence tell their stories in their own words.
Death led Faye Alexander back to Macon after living in Atlanta for several years. In April 1994 her sister was murdered. Two months later in June her son, Qucell, was shot returning to his hotel on Eisenhower Parkway.
“It’s our saying that we’ll leave here before our children. When that don’t happen, it just tears you down. You’re just so full of anger.”
The police never solved Walker’s murder. Alexander went to talk to the sheriff’s office to find out what was being done.
“He asked me when my son was an inmate there. I said, ‘my son was never in here’, said Alexander, “And I said, ‘I guess to you all it was just another black child but that wasn’t what it was to me, that was my child.”
She is the director of Peacekeepers Healing of Affliction, an organization fighting to end community violence. She also started a coalition with other mothers who have lost their children due to gun violence.
“I know it’s not easy for no mother to lose their child because it wasn’t for me,” Alexander said.
Linda Walker’s grandson, Gabryon Walker, was staying with her on the night he was shot by a friend, Kaleb Greene.
“My daughter, his mom, was gone. She had went to her unit in Augusta. They had drill that weekend. And she had left, “said Walker. “And I was just remember, I mean, I couldn’t even go to him.”
Greene fled the scene and threatened to hurt himself. Walker asked police to find him and give him a message.
“I was like, just let him know, don’t do that. It don’t make no sense to lose both of them,” Walker said.
Walker forgave Greene but she still feels the pain of losing the grandson she affectionately called, Piggie. It is a challenge to remain in her home.
“The old me wouldn’t have been able to stay here, [I] would have packed up [because] I can’t live here.,” said Walker, “But because he was my protector, I can’t leave. I can’t leave.”
Tonora Jones is grateful for the 14 years she had with her daughter, Tashuntis ‘Tootie’ Roberts but she wishes her life was not cut short.
Roberts was killed in her home in a drive-by shooting December 2015. Jones was not home at the time when the shooting took place. She got a call from one of her two sons. She came home to find the paramedics working on her daughter who was shot five times.
Roberts was taken to the hospital still alive. She later died from a bullet that grazed her heart.
“To see my baby laying there lifeless and I couldn’t do anything to save her. That is what hurts the most when she was innocent just lying on the sofa watching a movie.”
Jones said ‘Tootie’ was her best friend.
“We had a bond that could not be broken because we was the only two girls in the house,” Jones said. “I’m missing them days of going to get nails done, feet done, shopping, just having that mother and daughter bond.”
Roberts case is still under investigation. Jones has become an advocate speaking out against youth violence.
“I do it because it brings awareness and keeps my daughter’s memory alive because that’s the type of person she was. She would have been right out there with me.”