LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) The start of 2018 for Shawnmonquila Bragg marked another year gone with no answers.
"It was the worst feeling in your life," she said, "I don't know why I was scared but it was just a hurtful feeling."
That feeling for Bragg comes every time she recalls the moment she learned her mother had been murdered.
"I really couldn't break down, because I know how may family depends on me so if I would have cried, I would have made my granny cry, my sisters cry, so I just had to hold my composure until I got by myself."
It was early on November 21, 2009. Sabrina Bragg, known by her nickname, Pinky, was gunned down in the area of 16th and Stone Alley. The killer pulled the trigger multiple times.
"They shot her 9 times; she had two gunshot wounds to the head, six to the chest and one in the butt," Shawnmonquila Bragg recalled, "It was overkill."
"It was an overkill in the sense that they wanted her dead and there was no doubt about that by seeing the shot placement on her body as well as the number of shell casings that were found on the ground," Louisville Metro Police Detective Mickey Cohn told the 11 News i-Team.
Det. Cohn was the lead investigator in the murder case.
"If it was left up to me, I would say it sounded kind of personal for someone to shoot her that many times, but we don't know," Bragg said.
The elder Bragg was a mother of six, which included a set of twins, and grandmother to nine. Days after she was murdered, more than 100 people gathered in the alley where she was killed to pray for answers and the killer to be caught.
But detectives would soon realize solving the case would be more complicated than they thought; primarily because of a painful struggles their victim was fighting in her personal life.
Pinky's daughter and detectives admitted she fought a drug addiction as well as prostitution; factors which only added more pain for her family.
"I knew she was fighting a demon," Bragg said, "I knew she was on drugs and she didn't want to be like that, it was just something she couldn't shake."
Still, the hope for answers for Pinky's family is strong.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that someone out there knows exactly what happened to her," Cohn stressed.
"I just feel like they should do the right thing because if this was your family, you would want someone to do it for you," Bragg pleaded, "So why you just can't exchange the favor: I understand that you don't want to give your name because of the street code, I understand that, but you can at least call and tell what you know and leave it at that."
"That's the mentality that evolved with the younger people in our community now-a days that is propagated by fear from those that are around them know that if they talk to the police or give any information that they will be viewed as an outcast and labeled as a snitch," Cohn said, adding, "At some point we have to get past that."
Now, the place where Pinky was pronounced dead is a place her daughter comes everyday to work. Bragg is an emergency room nurse at University Hospital. The place is filled with constant reminders of her mother.
"I see how the families come in there, they get the news they break down, they cry, and it brings flashbacks."
She knows all too well the need for answers many those families also share; regardless of why their loved one died.
"It's the right thing to do," Bragg paused, "At the end of the day, she was fighting a drug addiction. Don't get me wrong but she was still a human being too."
"We view every victim the same, whether they be a prostitute, or a drug user, or a wealthy high end individual, we treat everyone the same, Cohn urged, "Everyone had the same right to life everyone has the right to live their lives; no one has the right to take their lives, and regardless of the circumstances, we treat everyone the same."
"You didn't have to take her away like you probably looked at her as one way but we looked at her another," Bragg said aloud what she would tell her mother's killer, "She was our mother, she was my kids grandmother: and you just robbed us of that."
What the killer could not take was a daughter's mission to still make her mother proud and smile from above.
"It makes me happy, just knowing I'm doing something to put a smile on her face, it's just the best feeling in the world," Bragg said.
Contact LMPD with Tips and Information
In the Bragg case and any open homicide investigation which are cold case or current, Louisville Metro Police detectives encourage anyone to come forward with the information. Lt. Emily McKinley who leads the homicide unit and the head of the Cold Case Unit joined this project with WHAS 11 News to highlight cold cases with the hopes of sparking memories and developing new leads in the investigations.
You can leave a tip anonymously by calling (502) 574-LMPD (5673).
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