LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) confirmed two 2022 homicide victims were pregnant, which brings the city’s death toll to eight just 11 days into the new year.
“Unless we are told something different from the Medical Examiner’s Office, they will be counted as two homicides per incident (for a total of four victims) based upon Kentucky’s Fetal Homicide statute,” LMPD spokesman Dwight Mitchell said.
Christopher 2X, a prominent anti-violence activist in Louisville and the executive director and founder of Game Changers, said as of Tuesday, 16 people have been shot and eight have died from their injuries in 2022.
2X said shootings impact far more people than just the intended targets, especially when people are hit with stray bullets.
“Stray bullet shootings have increased in Metro Louisville expressly over the last two years and even into the new year of 2022,” 2X said. “These wild shootings can affect families when people are shooting at targets and stray bullets going into dwellings."
2 pregnant women in Louisville die from gunshot injuries in one weekend
Jakia Holt, one of the expectant mothers, died Saturday.
The Jefferson County Coroner reports Holt, 36, died from her injuries after being shot multiple times at 4200 Northwestern Parkway on Jan. 3. from multiple gunshot wounds.
Nyota Bawili, the other expectant mother, died early Sunday morning after being shot in her living room while watching TV with her husband Patrick Pilipili and their 13-month-old baby at 5000 Wabash Pl.
Bawili, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to America five years ago with her husband and kids.
She moved from Florida to Louisville six months ago for work. Pilipili said she was a UPS employee.
Tuesday Jan. 11, instead of planning for his new baby's arrival, Pilipili planned his wife and unborn child's funerals.
"He is very saddened to have lost not only his wife, but his partner,” Pilipili’s relative Roland Butsitsi said.
Pilipili doesn’t speak English, so Butsitsi translated for him at a press conference raising awareness about Bawili’s death Tuesday.
Bawili had kids ranging in age from 21 years to 13 months, and she was six months pregnant with her eighth baby when she died. Four of her kids are in Jefferson County Public Schools.
"All of the sudden and they heard a gunshot and then [Pilipili] looked around and his wife was on the ground with a bullet in her head,” Butsitsi said.
According to LMPD, Bawili was dead when they arrived on the scene.
Butsitsi, who is also a Congolese refugee, said it's shocking to lose someone in America to violence because the reason his family left Congo was to escape it.
"Knowing that they moved from a country at war to one of the greatest countries in the world, never a day did they feel anything less than secure,” Butsitsi said.
'Let it stop here'
Police are still looking for Bawili's killer.
“Please, turn yourself in and let justice be done,” Butsitsi said.
Bawili’s family said police haven't determined if the shooting was targeted or if she was hit by a stray bullet, but since they have only been living in Louisville for six months and don't know many people, Pilipili said he doesn't think she was the intended target.
"Whoever did this, wherever they are, it really left [Pilipili] with a big scar and a big task,” Butsitsi said. “As a widow with 7 kids – the youngest being a 13-month-old – he has nowhere to start and nowhere to finish."
Butsitsi also made a plea to the public asking for the violence to stop so no one else has to feel the pain they're experiencing right now.
"Today it is us that are mourning, but with our effort, let's not make the next victim be someone else's family,” Butsitsi said. “Let it stop here."
If you know anything about Bawili’s or Holt’s cases, call LMPD. You can remain anonymous.
Their tip line is 502-574-LMPD (5673) or file a report through LMPD's online tip portal.