ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — City, county, and state leaders are coming together to help a family whose loved one was killed by a stray bullet.
St. Petersburg Police said Aesha Kendrick was killed Sunday morning as she ate breakfast on her front porch. Officers arrested Jamel Walker. His charges include second-degree murder and attempted murder. Police said he was aiming for a pick-up truck, passing by Kendrick’s home.
Kendrick leaves behind five children. Their ages range from one to seventeen years old.
Leaders in the community said they wanted to do their part to help and push for the violence to stop. A GoFundMe account was set up that will be handled by Smith Funeral Home to help pay for Kendrick’s funeral. ABC Action News learned any money left over will go toward helping take care of Kendrick’s five children.
“This touches everybody whether you’re a mom or aunt or uncle or grandparent because you can identify with having to step up, but also face the loss of your loved one in such a tragic way,” Pinellas County School Board Chairperson, Rene Flowers, said.
Kendrick’s father, Paul Lucas Jr, told ABC Action News on Sunday he already thought about how he was going to take care of his grandchildren. He said he was deeply hurt about losing his only child. On Wednesday, city leaders said he does not have to do this alone and requested the community help too.
“We want them to know that the community supports and embraces them,” Flowers said.
St. Petersburg Council Chair, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, said she understands what Lucas is going through because her son was murdered in Pinellas County.
“I feel like I have just taken on their grief. My shoulders are so heavy,” Wheeler-Bowman said.
She said there isn’t a day she does not think about her son. Just like Lucas, she thought about the grandchildren too after her loved one was tragically killed.
“When he looks at his grandchildren he’s going to see his daughter and while it may not bring her back, he still has a little piece of her,” Wheeler-Bowman said.
Wednesday evening, during a press conference, they said the message was also to stop the violence.
“Don’t wait until it knocks on your door, you know. Start spreading the message.... let’s put these guns down,” Wheeler-Bowman said.
ABC Action News learned the children will stay in the schools they are currently zoned for to give them some sense of normalcy. Flowers said they will provide counseling and mental health services through the schools.
Florida Senator Darryl Rouson said he plans to meet with the attorney general on Thursday. He said, during the meeting, he wants to discuss whether this family can receive assistance through the Victims Crime Compensation Fund.