Suspect sought in murder investigation of 19-year-old Phenix City native
PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - With Christmas more than a week away, one local pastor is pushing for people across the city to put the guns down as families celebrate the holidays.
One family in East Alabama who recently lost a loved one to gun violence agrees. Tonight, the family of 19-year-old Jaemond Smith sat down with News Leader 9 in hopes of gaining answers about the night he was killed.
Around this time of year, many homes across the country are full of joy as Christmas approaches. But, for one family in East Alabama, Christmas will be a holiday they’ll never forget.
Nearly two weeks prior to the holiday, 19-year-old Phenix City resident Jaemond Smith was shot and killed.
“Actually, I had a conversation with him on last Saturday. And we talked. He told me he loved me, and he went out the door, and I tried to call him, but he never answered the phone,” said his mother, Lizzie, as she recalled the last time she talked to him.
The Russell County Coroner’s office says Smith was pronounced dead on the scene. They add the shooting happened in front of Riverview apartments on 4th Avenue. His mother says he was there visiting someone.
How it happened, though, is unclear as officials have yet to release that information.
“My brother was 19. His birthday is literally 3 and 1/2 weeks. Like, he left behind his sister, his brothers. He’s the oldest of the boys,” said his sister Taye.
Jaemond’s mother, Lizzie, says he attended Central High School and was about to get his GED. While in high school, he also became friends with 20-year-old Steven Daniel, who was shot and killed in East Columbus at the end of September.
“He played football. He loved everybody’s kids. He always played with everybody’s kids. He grew up in church,” his mother adds,” said Jaemond’s mother.
While Jaemond’s family waits for answers, they encourage witnesses to speak up. To help, one local pastor is starting a program to reduce gun violence.
“We are doing what we call ‘Cease fire, phase one,’ where we’re challenging shooters to put the guns down for the week of Christmas - December 21 through December 28,” said Paster Delta Outley.
Pastor Outley says while it will NOT prevent local crime, she’s hopeful it will help.
“And one of the vision’s for our organization is we would like to help this organization in every city and every state because everybody’s dealing with the same problem, which is gun violence and domestic violence. And unfortunately, it’s a lot of young people that we’re losing to gun violence and domestic violence,” said Pastor Outley.
If you’re interested in helping with Pastor Outley’s crime reduction initiative, contact her at 706-442-3963.
To contribute to the GoFundMe for Jaemond, click here.
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