West Palm Beach Student Among Teen Journalists Documenting Fatal Shootings 'Since Parkland'

Feb 20, 2019

A group of student journalists tracked every fatal shooting of young people since the mass shooting in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018.

And they wrote obituaries for all of the victims—1,149 teens, children and toddlers.

The project is called “Since Parkland.”

The Trace, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on gun violence, created the platform to tell the untold stories of kids and teens killed by gun violence. (WLRN's news partner The Miami Herald was one of the news organizations participating in the project.) 

Michael Pincus, one of the student journalists, attends Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. He said one of the things he noticed is that many of the young people he and other teens wrote about barely made the news.

“The media didn't really deem a lot of these kids kind of worthy of being reported on,” he said.

In some cases, all Pincus and his fellow journalists had to go on was a short report that a teen was shot, with no name mentioned in news.

Pincus said for him this project was about humanity and honoring all of the young people whose lives got cut short by senseless violence.

Michael Pincus

He wrote 16 obituaries. One for Jontae Billups-Brooks, 18, a baseball player and music lover from Lafayette, Indiana, who was shot and killed outside of an apartment complex.

He also wrote a short profile of 14-year-old Maria Perez from Katy, Texas. She was killed by her stepfather in a murder-suicide.

And closer to home, Pincus told the story of Kimson Green, 16, who would never get a chance to be inducted into the National Honor Society. Kimson was shot and killed in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood.

Pincus said Green’s obituary was the hardest to write.

“Because it was an incident that I had heard of before joining this project,” he said. Green’s killing led to a school walkout at Miami Northwestern High, where he was a student, and Pincus remembers watching the walkout on the news.

He said while it’s important to honor the lives lost in the Parkland mass shooting, it’s equally important to recognize that shootings are impacting young people in communities across the country.

“These kids deserve to have their stories told as more than just statistics,” he said.

Visit sinceparkland.org to read all of the obituaries written by teen journalists.