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Tyreik Gadsden: Five Year Old Tragedy
5/27/2015 1:07:40 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch  

Last Friday night I received a disturbing call that a five year old boy and a man were shot in downtown Charleston outside of Wraggborough Housing Project.   

My first thought was this could not be true.  The dust had barely settled from a standoff the day before at another housing project when police officers shot and killed 32 year old Jerome Caldwell suspected in the shooting of Lt. Will Rogers of Berkeley County. 
According to news report, five year old, Tyreik Gadsden was visiting with his grandmother when the shooting occurred.  It seems no one is safe these days.   Tyreik’s grandmother said she was taking him to another relative’s house to spend the night when they walked out of the door into a gunfight. Another man was shot in the leg and not seriously injured.  

Tyreik is in critical condition and is paralyzed from the waist down.  As of this writing, the gunman or gunmen had not been apprehended.  
Tyreik is only five years old.  He just graduated from kindergarten.  He had just started to live.  Now the joy of living has been taken away.  Tyreek is going to require long term medical care and a lifetime of assistance.  The choice that the suspect or suspects made that day took Tyreik’s choice to live a normal life away.  The suspect made a choice that day that has changed Tyreik’s life forever and if caught his decision will change his or her life as well.
So, what are we going to do about it?  What are we going to do about the violence in our communities that has become commonplace?  Last week a mother was laid to rest after a case of mistaken identity. A sixteen year old was arrested in the case.  

What callous behavior and utter disregard for life.  Here you have a 16 year old chasing and shooting at a car lose sight of the car and the first car that looks like the one he was chasing, he opens fire.  What was going through his head?  Why was he chasing the car in first place?
Several weeks ago, 26 year old Bryant Heyward of Hollywood was shot by a police officer and is paralyzed from the neck down.  While there are questions regarding some missteps on the part of the police, the home invaders are the ones responsible for what happened to Heyward. 

The appropriate sentence for the suspect(s) should be to take care of Heyward for the rest of his or their natural lives.  They should not be allowed to “enjoy” prison where they get three meals a day, exercise time and at least 8 hours sleep a night while Heyward will not have such privileges.  Heyward will require around the clock care. 
The consequences for randomly firing a gun where people are injured needs to carry a stiff penalty.
The community should be outraged over the shooting of Tyreik and demand that the person responsible for shooting him, turn yourself in?  I can’t imagine the shooting was intentional but an accident that was waiting to happen.  If you are chasing someone and shooting, anything can happen.  Bullets do not have names.  You can’t second guess a moving bullet or a moving target.
Drugs and weapons are bad combinations.  In order to reduce crime in the black community, we must stop the drug and weapons pipeline.  Since that is a major undertaking and no one is going to take responsibility, we are going to have to do a better job of educating our children.  We must demand better educational and job opportunities for our children.  Education and good parenting will win over drugs and guns.  
Let’s take a stand against the violence in our communities.  Let’s stop the violence.  Are y’all listening?

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