In 2010, 15-year-old Andrew Elliot was shot in the back in an alley. By the time Kim Jarboe, his mom, was notified and arrived on the scene, Andrew was dead.
Andrew was Jarboe’s first-born. She said the trauma of such a loss can last forever.
“Any of us that have buried a child are all going to feel some kind of emptiness,” Jarboe said. “[It’s] a part of us that we’ll never be able to speak to again, physically hold, touch, hug, kiss, anything.”
The year Andrew Elliot was killed — 2010 — five other Louisville children were homicide victims. But in the past twelve years, 2017 has the distinction of having the highest murder count for Louisville’s kids.
Louisville Metro Police data show 14 kids under the age of 18 were murdered last year, a higher count than any other year in the past 12 years of juvenile murders in Louisville. Since 2006, 87 kids were homicide victims in Louisville — including 12 children under the age of one.
A Centers for Disease Control study released this year found that guns are involved in many child deaths. Katherine Fowler, the CDC report’s lead researcher, said motivations sometimes differ depending on age.
“We found that looking at younger children aged zero to 12, these incidents of firearm homicide often involved conflict between intimate partners or among family in the home,” Fowler said. “This highlights, to us, how children can be caught in the crossfire.”
The CDC study found African-American kids were disproportionately affected by gun death; this holds true in Louisville, too. Of the 14 juveniles murdered in Louisville in 2017, eight were black boys or girls. One of those was seven-year-old Dequante Hobbes Jr. who was killed by a stray bullet while sitting at his kitchen table.
Some of 2017’s other victims were killed by their caretakers. Avery Hooper, 8, and Aairden Hooper, 10, were shot and killed by their mother. And 6-year-old Za’Mori Wright was allegedly assaulted by his mothers’ boyfriend before dying of blunt force trauma to the head.
Andrew Elliot’s 2010 death was different from many others. He was killed after allegedly throwing rocks at then 62-year-old Archie Ashley’s house. Ashley plead guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in jail, but that didn’t ease Jarboe’s grief.
Next to Jarboe’s Christmas tree, a lamp illuminates photos of Andrew. Images of him are all
over the house — a school photo in the corner, a basketball picture in the hallway and baby pictures on the wall.
Since Andrew’s death, Jarboe said she’s found comfort in helping other grieving parents.
“It’s therapy for me to try to help the other moms or the dads or whomever it may be,” Jarboe said. “I just try to get it to the point where I can try to get other moms to the point that I’m at today.”
She participated in the Pegasus Institute’s recent study which alleges Louisville’s systems failed people affected by homicide and violent crime. And she hopes the study brings resources to those in need.
That study will be presented to Louisville’s Metro Council in early 2018.