Recent murders of women and toddler raise concerns with civic leaders

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ST. LOUIS – So far this week, two women, a man, and a toddler have been among the murder victims in the city of St. Louis.

On Monday afternoon, 25-year-old Desha Davis and her friend, 27-year-old Jonathan Young, were shot multiple times on Highland in north city.

Both died at the scene.

The shooting occurred while Desha’s 1-year-old daughter, Ava, was nearby. Fortunately, the child wasn’t harmed.

Then late Tuesday night on Ferris near Goodfellow, police say 18-year-old Trina A’moir and her son, 2-year-old Caden, were both shot and killed after a gunman allegedly kicked in their door.

Some are asking why women and children are being targeted in violent crimes when in the past that might not have happened.

James Clark, community outreach director for Better Family Life, a non-profit group that focuses on families and trying to reduce violence, blames much of the problem on the breakdown of families and neighborhoods. He believes that has led to a troubling mentality that is different than in the past.

“We had rules – women and children were off limits. Now it’s no respect of person; anyone, anytime. Mothers, grandmothers, senior citizens are now open game,” Clark said.

Clark believes basic human relationships have also become problematic.

“Everyone is so focused on a gadget and the human to human connection is eroded,” he said. “That’s why we have people who can walk up and shoot a woman and a child because the human to human connection in our society is eroding fast. We don’t even see each other as humans anymore. We see each other as distractions.”

“No one is immune from violent crime,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

She points out two issues: the number of guns on the streets and criminals feeling emboldened because they don’t think witnesses will talk.

“This is the bigger picture when give guns, allow guns to be prevalent in areas where violence is so wreaking havoc on communities,” Gardner said.

“We as law enforcement need to do a better job of going out to the community to build trust so people feel comfortable letting us know what is going on.”

Clark says the solution has to start at home with better family units then it can grow from there.

Both he and Gardner are hopeful for the future.

“Now is the time for everyone to say I’m going to be a little more compassionate,” Clark said.

Gardner added: “We have to say we don’t tolerate any crime regardless of your gender, your occupation or station in life. We have to hold everyone accountable for the violent acts that we are hearing and seeing.”

Police say there is no evidence connecting the two crimes and, at this point, there are no suspects.

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