This letter comes from Gloria Baptiste, sister of Shawn Baptiste, who was shot to death in Pasadena Fre. 7, 2007/ Baptiste was one of several killed during a spike of violence that took hold in Pasadena in 2007. Here’s the letter:
During the week of July 14, 2008 a preliminary hearing took place at the Pasadena Superior Courthouse. The prosecution presented its evidence which included witness testimonies and audio tapings. At the end of the week-long proceedings the four men suspected of murder; Michael Grigsby, Jerrell Sanford, Jeremi Carr and Dwayne Rice, were formally charged with murder of Shawn Baptiste and attempted murder against the two men who were in the car with Shawn when the shooting took place. The case goes to trial August 1, 2008.
I know you probably get many stories similar to this, especially with the rising gang violence that has plagued Pasadena over the last 18 months. The violence has not only affected my family, but also the families of the other victims. However, what about the families of those who are guilty for these acts? What about the mothers of the four men on trial for the murder of my brother? Do they not grieve over the loss of their son? Do the men on trial not grieve over the loss of their future; their freedom?
What I cannot understand is the transition that takes place in the heart of a person when they make the conscious decision to aim a gun at the heart or head of another and pull the trigger with the intent to end a life. How does a soul wrap itself around that? I mean, at night does the shooter remember the face of the one they killed? How do they see themselves now that the very unmistakable line has been crossed?
I wonder these things because even the shooter is human. Even their heart bleeds. I understand that a conscious can be seared and after which become useless in the life of a person. But on some level, for all men there exists a place of compassion.
When the anniversary of my brother’s passing arrived, memories flooded my every waking moment and for some strange reason this time around I wasn’t as strong as last year. It could be that my time for grief had finally arrived but regardless of the reason *shaking my head* there I stood - staring the reality of my loss in the face. Praise God for the gift of writing which operates as our release, because through it He is glorified and others (like myself) are touched and in small ways healed one sentence at a time.
Shawn meant the world to my family and me. He was not only a son and brother, but a friend to us as well. We have not forgotten about him.
Will you or someone from your office please attend the trial to document what is taking place?