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5 homicides away from the record, 5 families show us what's at stake

168 people were killed in Louisville this year. The record is 173, set in 2020. It's only November. Every single person lost has a story and an impact.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has been home to a homicide every single week this year. There hasn't been rest for the investigators or the families of the 168 victims. 

Five deaths separate the total this year from the city's record of 173, set last year.

With that in mind, we're looking back at five victims and their families to show that even one more death is too many. 

Duan Calloway

In January, 46-year-old Duan Calloway was shot while working on a home in the Shawnee neighborhood. He later died at University of Louisville Hospital.

"He was revitalizing the west end which is where we all grow up in and he wanted to do it one property at a time," Duan's wife, Georgetta Calloway, said.

She said that Calloway was working on one of his apartment buildings, framing a sidewalk right outside on Cecil Avenue.

"My husband was actually hammering and this person walked up behind him from Herman Street and shot him multiple times and walked away," Georgetta said.

Police said that Calloway had his back turned to the suspect as he was working on the sidewalk near the property. Detectives believe he was essentially defenseless as the suspect began to open fire.

"I rushed to the scene and it was just like being in a nightmare and what I saw when I got there, it was a nightmare," Georgetta recounts. "A nightmare I was praying I would wake up from, but I never did."

Keyona Burks

In May, 39-year-old Keyona Burks was fatally shot in a drive-by outside the Park DuValle Family Dollar.

"He was not perfect, he was no angel," Myah Davis said. "But he was everything to us." 

Myah was Burk's cousin. But their family is so close, she said they were more like brother and sister. 

"That's all we know," she said. "That's all we've grown up on, it's family."

Each member of the family got a similar call that night, telling them Keyona might have been shot, he might be dead.

They gathered at police tape, outside of the Family Dollar in Park Duvalle to find out for themselves. Burks was dead. Davis said he was with his three-year-old son when it happened. 

"We are extremely hurt. Not only because he is gone and we are going to miss him, but by the way he was taken," Davis said. "He was murdered, he was taken away from us." 

Jessica Jones

On that same day in May, Jessica Jones was murdered inside of her apartment. 

Standing at Jessica's home in Bon Air, her sisters shared their experience days after her death.

“This is where the killer came. This is where she took her last breath,” Her sister Tidshawnda Spence said. “If we didn’t actually hear from Facebook, we wouldn’t know nothing.”

While press releases have named the victim as Jessica Abernathy, her family called her Jessica Jones.

"She's really gone. She's not going to call us and be like 'I'm joking, here I am.' It's really a reality that she is not here anymore," Felisia Stone, a close friend said.

Terry Smith

In September, 26-year old Terry Smith was shot and killed while driving to work on the Watterson.

Smith left behind a growing family and his pregnant fiance, Ashely Sproul.

"I don't know what our future looks like," she said. "It feels like a dream that I should be woken up from." 

Sproul found out about the crash several hours after it happened, when officials came to her home. She's still at a loss, wondering how this happened. 

"We know Terry," Sproul said. "He didn't have a firearm, he's never had a firearm, he didn't have exit wounds from his vehicle." 

Her only hope now is that witnesses who saw what happened that morning on the highway will come forward. 

"He literally was joy," Sproul said. "We can't do anything together anymore, my daughter will never get to meet her dad."

Tyree Smith

In September, 17-year-old Tyree Smith was shot and killed while waiting for a school bus.

His Mother, Sherita Smith, shared a note with WHAS11 News Monday about the approaching tragic milestone.

"It's very sad what Louisville, Ky has come to. It's a different murder every day. I think the people committing the murders are cowards, dangerous, and need to be off the streets. In my son's case, I just wish anyone with any info would please come forward. also, it's still a $10,000 reward for any info leading to an arrest. I have no info about any suspects in my son's case so far." 

"It's hard for us moving forward with no arrest to hold whoever murdered accountable. Whoever did it needs to be behind bars where they belong."

"Tyree was a great innocent kid, were very sad about his loss. also, his death is taking a toll on my whole family and the whole community, my other 2 kids are impacted because my daughter misses her best friend dearly and my 5 years old son misses his big brother that he looked up to so much. It's hard for me to sleep and sometimes get through my day, I miss Tyree so much."

"I pray that we have more law enforcement officers on the streets to protect the community and to get ahold of the violence and also to get the criminals off the streets. It's becoming to where people don't feel safe in Louisville." 

"We as a whole need to get the streets back and get the criminals and murders, off the streets. The kids can't play outside anymore, go to school, or feel safe because it's happening everywhere in Louisville, not just downtown, murders are happening in all neighborhoods." 

"I also want to say thanks to the whole community for support,  letter, prayers, and kind words for my family."

If you believe you know something that could be helpful with any of these investigations, you can submit a tip anonymously by calling 574-LMPD (5673) or by using the LMPD online tip portal.

Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.

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