It’s a pain that never heals. That’s how parents and family members describe losing school-aged children and teenagers to gun violence.
Nearly 1,300 children ages 0 to 17 die from gun shot wounds in the United States each year. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, firearms rank in the top three causes of death for American children.
In South Florida, after the shootings and funerals, families struggle to make sense of young lives cut short by bullets. They’re left with milestones that will never be— watching a child learn how to ride a two-wheeler or attending a teen’s high school graduation. At times, trophies and school certificates are gently packed away, an all too painful reminder. And the sadness, it comes in waves that won’t end.
WLRN explores this loss through the voices of family members and parents impacted by youth gun violence in this series.
Explore the series
Noricia Talabert was dropping friends off at home in Florida City when someone started shooting. The 17-year old, just a few months shy of her high school graduation, was killed.
Zamari Pierre-Louis was 16 years old when he was shot and killed in Miami Gardens on January 17, 2014. Five years later, his killing remains unsolved.
Bryan Herrera was riding his bicycle down the street from his home in Allapattah when he was shot in the head. He was 16.
Tawana Akins buried her great-nephew King Carter. He was 6.
Josephine Cameron talks about Joewaun Coles, a 15-year old she raised, the day after he was gunned down in their apartment complex in May 2015.
Randall Robinson was a 17-year-old student at Miami Northwestern High School.
Jada Page was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting on August 28. Two days later, she died from her injuries in the hospital. She was 8 years old.
Tequila Forshee was 12 years old when she was killed inside her grandmother's Miami Gardens home on Aug. 14, 2013.
Isaiah Solomon was 15 years old when he was killed while attending his 19-year old cousin Devonair “Deb” Blake’s wake.