In wake of third teen slaying, police call on community to help stop the violence.
Friends and relatives of Juwon Osborne gathered near the spot in north Minneapolis where the 16-year-old was shot and killed Monday night. He was staying with his mother, Jamica Holden, left, while recuperating from being shot in the leg last week. “I have nothing,” Holden said.
A third teen's slaying in a month on the city's North Side left another family grieving on Tuesday for the loss of a son and brother, and for his peers, one more reminder of the lethal violence that can arise from juvenile disputes.
Juwon Osborne, 16, was shot to death near the intersection of 30th and Dupont Avenues N. about 7:30 p.m. Monday, a few blocks from his mother's house. He normally lived with his father in New Hope, according to relatives, but had been recuperating in Minneapolis after he was shot in the leg one week ago.
Osborne's death comes after the killings of Quantell Braxton, 14, Aug. 20 and Ray'Jon Gomez, 13, Aug. 24. Those shootings do not appear to be related to one another, police said. No one has been arrested in any of the homicides, and investigators called on the community to help stop the violence.
Since the recent shootings, Jamie Williams, 16, a junior at North High, doesn't walk through North Commons Park at night anymore.
"I didn't use to have to look over my shoulder when I walked home," she said.
Williams, who knew Osborne, said the violence comes from kids fighting over petty disagreements.
"I don't even think it's over gangs anymore. I think it's over hatred. It's over girls and jealousy," she said.
Her sister, Jamiah, 14, agreed.
"I feel that it's not going to stop," she said. "I feel like people are going to retaliate. I feel that if my sister was shot, I would retaliate."
Low graduation rates, high unemployment and lack of programs have left many young teenagers raising themselves, sometimes without positive role models but usually with easy access to guns, community members said.
"We need adults to step up and tell these kids not to be hanging out on the street, not to be carrying guns and not to be hanging out with gang members," police Inspector Mike Martin said. "We need the adults in the community to talk to these young men about the decisions they're making and the unfortunate consequences that come from making poor decisions," he said.
The city's efforts to address juvenile crime won plaudits just two years ago from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. That work continues, particularly during a fresh round of violence, said Capt. Isaac de Lugo, who commands the juvenile investigations division.
"There's no easy answer, obviously," he said. "It's not just a police issue, it's the community and of course a neighborhood issue."
Marcus Zackery, the north Minneapolis director for the Boys and Girls Clubs, said he's frustrated. "It puts you in the place, 'Is there anything else I could have done?'" But he added: "There are kids that we are reaching no matter how hard things seem."
Relatives mourn at shrine
Rita Timberlake, Osborne's aunt, joined other family members Tuesday at the home of Osborne's cousins, just steps away from where he was found dead.
"You know, 16 years old. He never got a chance," Timberlake said. "There are young kids dying by the wayside on the streets like this. There's no jobs. There is no guidance in the community. Everybody's living below poverty and barely making it, and the economy's bad. What else could go wrong?"
Jamica Holden, the boy's mother, rose from a chair near her son's murder scene to greet her pastor.
They prayed together on the sidewalk. Osborne's sister, grandmother, aunts, cousins and friends stood nearby.
"He was respectful to me," said Portia Osborne, the slain teen's grandmother, recalling how often her grandson would call on his cellphone. In one of his last phone calls he asked her for advice.
"He said, 'Grandma, I want to get a job,'" she said. She counselled him to stay in school and work toward something.
She and Holden talked about the photos they have of him.
"I still have the ultrasound," Portia Osborne said.
"I have nothing," Holden said.