Devastating news out of Knoxville, Tennessee, as 12-year-old Jajuan Hubert Latham was shot and killed Saturday night while sitting in his father's parked SUV. In a tragic twist of fate, Jajuan had been attending a basketball game in the honor of his cousin Zaevion Dobson, who died from gun violence in December when he shielded three girls from random gunfire.
On Saturday, Jajuan and his father had attended the game at Dobson's former high school in honor of his cousin, and standing up to gun violence. After the game, the father and son went to a nearby park where police say shooting broke out between people attending a party and two vehicles driving by.
Hubert Latham, Jajuan's father spoke to WATE and said that they had gone to the park to pick up his son's friends. They had only been there for a few moments before the shots were fired. "I reached for my son, and I realized he wasn't moving," the grief-stricken father said. Latham rushed his son to the hospital but Jajuan death was announced only 30 minutes later. "They took my son's life. I want justice."
Knoxville police are doing all they can to give Latham the justice he and his son deserve. They have recovered gun shells from the scene and are "vigorously," investigating the crime scene based on witness statements. Police Chief David Rausch spoke at a press conference following Jajuan's death. "This has got to stop," he said. "This is a second innocent young person in our community who has had their life ended by senseless violence, by cowards. This has got to end." Police believe that both Jajuan's death, and his cousin's, was the result of gang violence.
The anti-violence basketball game was sponsored by Tennessee basketball star Bobby Maze. He isn't the first hooper to speak out against gun violence: watch NBA superstars speak out to stop the senseless violence with BET News:
(Photos from left: Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Schools via AP)