COLUMBUS, Ohio — Four teenagers in Columbus have died from shootings in the past week.
“For the families, I can't imagine, especially for the mother now losing two of her daughters. How do you console her?” said Jene Patrick, Brand Ambassador and Change Agent for Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children.
Khaterra Griffin died on Saturday, nearly three weeks after she was shot at an east Columbus nightclub. Her sister, 30-year-old Shamira Rhoades, died at the scene. Police identified 28-year-old Amara Battle as the suspected shooter.
“How do we put a stop to this? That's the biggest thing. What more can we do to make it better? I think it's a lot of layers to it. I think we have to stop being reactive and be more proactive,” Patrick said.
Griffin isn't the only 17 year old to die from gun violence this weekend. The Columbus Division of Police has not released many details, but A'niyah Elie was shot and killed Sunday night in the Short North. Two persons of interest have been identified.
On Oct. 12, 13-year-old Sinzae Reed was found shot in a street in the Hilltop neighborhood. He was taken to Doctors Hospital and died soon after. Krieg Butler has been charged with murder in his death.
Two days earlier, a 15-year-old girl, Lovely Kendricks, was shot at Franklin Park on the near east side. She died at Nationwide Children's Hospital hours after the shooting.
An 18-year-old suspect, Roshawn Adkins Jr., has been identified as the possible shooter and has been charged with murder. Police are still searching for him.
Patrick said it's time for parents to look in the mirror.
“It's time for us to have the hard conversation. No it's not about blaming, but we are losing our kids. We are past blame. It's what can we do better,” Patrick said.
In total this year, nine children under 18 have lost their lives from violence, in a year when homicides are down from the record-setting previous year.
“The rate being down, the numbers aren't comparable when you are still hearing it every week. It's another child, it's another child,” Patrick said.
Patrick argues community members need to get active now, before the violence hits their door-step.
“We need the community to speak out more about the people who are committing these crimes. The people who know, we can't afford to be quiet any longer. Our children are dying,” Patrick said.