Community

When Andre Morris allegedly fired his gun through a window, forcing his way into Tracy Browning’s house, she looked at his face and had never seen it so angry.

Morris shot Browning in the head, spewing blood her son would later clean up. She survived. Now Morris is on house arrest, Browning suffers depression and she says Louisville’s justice system failed her.

Her story, and dozens of stories like hers, will be presented to Louisville’s Metro Council as part of the “Voices of Survivors” report by the Pegasus Institute — a conservative think-tank.

The report found there have been 1018 murders in Louisville between 2003 and November of this year, and thousands more have been admitted to the U of L hospital for firearm injuries. And people affected by this violence say the city has failed to adequately support them as they deal with the aftermath.

District Seven Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet, who is also running to be Louisville’s mayor, said the report exposes failures in Metro Government’s system.

“We have to create better awareness around what these survivors are going through and what the real cost is and how we can help them,” Leet said. “If we could prevent these homicides, if we could prevent these gun shootings, that there would be a positive financial impact. And even more importantly … a positive emotional impact on the community.”

Leet said she’s been involved with the report since its beginning, and hopes state legislators and Metro council members support Marsy’s law to help the victims and survivors in the report. That law extends rights to crime victims and survivors, protecting some who might fear retaliation by suspects of their case.

Opponents of these laws say it would add costs and give victims an upper hand in court proceedings.

But for Browning, she said a law that would require her to be notified about court proceedings and possibly give her restitution might help her. She can’t afford to move out of the house she was shot in, and she fears Morris might come back to kill her. She said suicidal thoughts have crossed her mind.

The report says Louisville should create a community fund to help victims pay for costs for funeral costs, insurance coverage or other needs which they can’t afford.

The report also suggests a constitutional amendment to guarantee victims the right to notice of court proceedings and allow them to deliver a victim impact statement. It also recommends the creation of a civilian victim advocate program within Louisville Metro Police Department.

The report features the stories of people like Nicole Taylor, who said she was robbed and shot in front of her 4-year-old son this July. Now, Taylor said she and her son take behavioral medication and fear for their lives.

“It’s been very rough. This person is still out here — he has not been caught,” Taylor said at the report’s Dec. 11 release. Sirens wailed in the background. She choked back tears. “I just want to thank God that he sent his angels to protect me and my 4-year-old that morning.”

LMPD responded to the report in a Facebook post, saying some of the suggestions were already implemented within the department and that LMPD supports some initiatives suggested by the Pegasus Institute.

Councilwoman Leet expects the report will be presented to council members in early 2018.

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News.