NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN – Brenda Hawkins still can barely speak about June 7, 2016 without having to fight back tears.
On that afternoon, she got a phone call that forever changed her life.
Both her son, 22-year-old Kemontanez Armstrong, and her husband, 32-year-old Keon Hawkins, were shot and killed outside of a home on Bessie Avenue in North Nashville.
“It was right about this time now that I got the phone call,” she said. “It is just a lot going on in Nashville right now, and it’s time that something has got to give.”
According to the latest numbers available from Metro police’s Compstat Data, as of June 3, 2017, there are 171 gunshot victims countywide.
For the same time period last year, there were 108. That is a 58 percent increase compared to last year.
Neither statistic includes people shot as the result of an accidental shooting, suicide, or suicide attempt.
“It is scary,” Hawkins said. “I am scared for the younger generation.”
Hawkins’ son had a daughter after his death who will never get to know him.
“It is hard to think about explaining to a child why their father isn’t with them,” she said. “But she is a joy in our lives to have her.”
James Lee Simpson is charged with two counts of criminal homicide in connection with the double murder. Police said he arrived at St. Thomas Midtown Hospital shortly after the shooting with a gunshot wound. Ballistics testing linked him to the crime scene, according to Metro police.
Keon Hawkins’ son was also the victim of gun violence in 2015. The 11-year-old, Keon Malone, was hit in the head by a stray bullet while standing in the doorway of his mother’s apartment. The shots were meant for the duplex next door.