NewsRegion South PinellasSt Petersburg


Neighborhood stands up to gun violence after mom of five killed by stray bullet in St. Pete

St. Pete PD: violent crimes 'significantly down'
Posted at 4:19 PM, Nov 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-12 18:17:01-05

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-- A neighborhood is standing up to gun violence after a mother was killed by a stray bullet. 

Today, Aesha Kendrick would have started her new job. Instead, it’s her funeral her family is planning.

St. Petersburg mother of five sitting on porch eating breakfast killed by stray bullet

St. Petersburg Police says the mom of five was out on her porch Sunday morning, just eating her breakfast. Then a man standing on the corner and across the street fired at a pick-up truck. He missed it and hit her instead. Police have identified that man as Jamel Walker. He's charged with second-degree murder in her death and attempted murder for shooting at the pick-up truck.

Octavious Keys is Kendrick's partner and father of their five children.

“They just need to stop it man, it don’t make no sense," he said.

Sunday morning, he woke up to screaming. When he rushed to the front door he found Kendrick slumped on the ground and bleeding. Today, Keys is focusing on taking care of their kids and pleading for change.

“It’s bad right now, it’s very bad," he said. "It’s nothing but a bunch of kids running around with guns. It’s crazy.”
Other neighbors, like Marian Williams, call gun violence a big problem in St. Pete.

“It scares me, it’s scary," she said. “What happened with the boxing? We used to fight and be friends the next day. We gotta put these guns down."

ABC Action News looked at St. Pete’s crime report and found violent crimes are significantly down. Looking at homicides there have been 20 so far this year tying it with 2017 and the year before that. The all-time high was in 2007 with 26 homicides.

We also found Jamel Walker was just released from prison in May for charges including drug possession, armed robbery and running from police. His arrest record for this case, revealed the pickup truck he aimed for carried his “intended victim” moments before he ended up shooting Kendrick.

We spoke with two women who say they unknowingly housed the suspected murderer. They requested we hide their identity out of safety concerns.

“I am devastated for the family." said one of the women. “That teaches me not to let anyone in my home."

"I hope he gets justice, I hope he gets what he deserves," said the other woman.

Those women say they still don’t know what Walker was doing in the neighborhood almost six miles away or who he was targeting. Kendrick’s family plans to have a vigil in her honor Monday night.