When bullets strike flesh, lives are forever changed. When the victim is killed, families are left behind to grieve, to deal with the criminal justice system, to try to pull their lives back together and resist the urge to retaliate. When the victim survives, the physical recovery is only trumped by the emotional recovery.
Last year we published a white paper titled; “Voices of the Survivors: Louisville Metro Violence Crime Impact Report.” The goal of the report was to, for the first time in our city, qualify and quantify the impact of murder and non-fatal shootings on the individuals they leave behind.
The week of August 20th served as a sobering reminded of what victims and their families must continue to go through as they attempt to weather the criminal justice process in hopes of finding justice.
Two of the most vocal and involved survivors with our report were Rochelle Turner and Pastor Jerome Garrison. Rochelle and Jerome are the parents of Ricky Jones, a young man killed in a double homicide in April of 2017. On Tuesday of last week it was announced that LMPD had made an arrest in his murder as well as the other victim Delivia Carron. Nearly 18 months later, an arrest is likely a welcome development for their families, but is just the next chapter in the grieving process as the must deal with a pending criminal case. This will bring new struggles and challenges, and reopen wounds than never fully closed, all while trying to find some semblance of justice for their son.
Unfortunately, just a few days later, another survivor we worked with on the report, Tracy Browning, would have a development in her case. Browning was non-fatally shot in the head in August of 2017 by an ex-boyfriend, Andre Morris. Morris was convicted of attempted murder, assault, and burglary. Then Friday he was sentenced to six years in prison. But due to parole eligibility and time served, Morris could be out in as little as two months.
Browning already has permanent scaring on the side of her head from the shooting, and now in a little as two months could be walking the same streets as the man who pointed a gun at her head and pulled the trigger.
In addition to documenting the impact of homicides and non-fatal shootings of survivors, we made a number of policy recommendations in that report in the hopes of helping those we talked to. I hope and believe those policies will help, but last week served as a reminded of the lasting pain and struggle survivors must go through for the rest of their lives.