Victims of teen violence remembered on Christmas Day


by Brooke Hasch

Posted on December 26, 2013 at 12:49 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 26 at 1:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville families are making a stand on the city's west end in hopes of ending teen violence. More than a dozen people gathered at the Garden of Angels between Woodland and Wilson avenues Wednesday evening in honor of four lives lost too soon.

"We need not only the guns to stop, the violence to stop, but we need the families to start getting together," Frankie Shields said.

Shields said he's guilty of it too.

"It's sad that we have to lose a child to be able to know who our next door neighbor is," he said.

He and his wife Robin said teens are dying every day to violence and it's the parents who should be held more responsible. Since 2011, the Shields have gathered with friends and family at the Garden of Angels every Christmas, laying a wreath in memory of their son, Aaron Shields.

"I take it one day at a time," Shields said.

It's been five years since the Shields said goodbye to their son, who died alongside three others in a car crash.

"It's not a pretty sight," Andrew Shields, Aaron's brother said. "Nobody wants to come and see their son in the ground each and every day."

Aaron and his friends, Jemar, Demar, and Marc Claybrook, got in a car driven by 16-year-old Herbert Lee following an after-school event on December 18, 2008. The boys did not know Lee had stolen the car and he led police on a chase before crashing into a tree. Lee was the only survivor. He’d spend three years behind bars.

The Shields say it's up to parents to discipline their children in order to live in a safer neighborhood. They say all parents need to be a support system for other kids on the block.

"It's hard for you to discipline somebody's child that you don't know, but if we get to know them, then it becomes easier to discipline," Shields said.

It's discipline that could have saved his child's life.

"It's the Garden of Angels, but it's also the Garden of Hope," Shields said.

This story has caught the attention of rapper, Master P. He's contacted the family about helping revamp the area around the memorial in hopes of attracting more people to the area.