NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Natasha Fite is now planning her youngest son’s funeral after his shooting death Tuesday in Nashville’s Vine Hill area.
While struggling through unimaginable grief, she shared with News 2 Friday some remembrances of her 18-year-old son Kenny Hatcher.
Natasha managed a smile as she recalled how Kenny was holding a steady job after getting his high school diploma in May from the Academy at Hickory Hollow. He had hopes to join the National Guard.
Brother Javaris Elliott called his younger sibling “a bright kid who wanted to have fun.”
Natasha added that her son “wasn’t into the streets, never had any trouble” and “loved the neighborhood.” He was often seen biking and skateboarding in the spruced up area.
Metro police agreed, saying he had no criminal record, but there have recently been too many Nashville kids like Kenny being murdered.
Department figures show nine of the 36 homicides this year have been 19 and under.
Figures for the same time last year showed just five of 41 homicides were teenagers.
“The violent crimes and the number of children we are seeing who get guns seems to be on the increase,” said Metro Youth Services Capt. Gordon Howey.
The captain points to a long list of programs aimed at reducing youth violence.
“We have a program called Strengthening Families, which is how to get at children at a younger age when they become a little bit delinquent,” he told News 2.
Police said Strengthening Families often starts with kids who do things like skipping school or use tobacco.
The captain outlined some of what the program does:
- Families and offending youngsters get counseling at Metro facilities.
- Meetings once a week for nine weeks.
- Metro jail and juvenile detention facility tours.
- Tours of local universities.
- Provides skills to deal with conflict leading to violence.
Another voice comes from North Nashville Pastor Enoch Fuzz.
Over the rising cry of sirens in his neighborhood, he said, “You have to get to the people who know the kids. One way we get to people in the community, for instance kids who are not going to school. They got family and relatives and friends, that’s one good place, partner with those churches.”
The reverend says give those churches the resources to work with those kids before they become victims.