Jackson, Ms. Kennedy Hobbs was young who was just beginning her life.
As an entrepreneur, she started her own waxing business at the age of 17. In a video posted to Facebook, William Edwards, a close friend of the Hobbs family, said she was preparing to do the right things and had a bright future.
“This is where Kennedy was supposed to grow up and succeed and do her job,” he said, showing off her small studio, Kay Waxing Bar.
The 18-year-old was shot dead At about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday at a Texaco gas station in Jackson, said Sam Brown, a spokesman for the Jackson Police Department.
Brown said Hobbs sustained multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene. He said four witnesses were brought in for questioning on Wednesday, and the agency is currently looking for a possible suspect in the case. No other details were disclosed.
Family and friends called on city officials and law enforcement on Wednesday to do more to solve her murder and tackle the rising crime rate in Jackson.
Nearly two dozen people gathered on the main steps of the Jackson Police Department to listen to the family’s pleas less than 24 hours after Hobbs’ death.
Edwards said Wednesday during the event that the family is still trying to process what happened. He said that Jackson Police Department investigators have not released any details about their investigation of the family so far.
Edwards said he believed outside agencies were not asked to assist in the investigation, which was frustrating for him and other members of his family.
“Why isn’t (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) here? Why isn’t it (the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation),” he said. “We were not told anything.”
Crime in the city of Jackson has risen in recent years. The city is on track to surpass the record number of homicides of 130, set just last year. Edwards said the Hobbs family wanted Jackson to be a safer city for its youth.
“She’s not just my niece or just her father’s baby or her mother’s baby: she’s all our children,” Edwards said.
Edwards said there are too many high-powered firearms on the streets of Jackson, and he feels the police should focus on trying to get the situation under control.
He said, “I am for the right to bear arms, but at what cost?”
Dwayne Beckett, pastor of New Jerusalem Church in Jackson, said Hobbs’ loss was tragic, but he also felt it was a point for the community to take a stand against the escalating violence across the city.
“The life and death of Kennedy could be a defining moment for our city,” he said. “This is the moment when we said an honor student had been killed in our city and we said ‘No more’.”
Beckett said the community needs to work together and think about solutions, including ways to provide more constructive outlets for young people across the city. By involving young people in programs and other activities that prevent them from turning to violence, he said, the city as a whole can improve.
“There is no way for us to change anything unless we meet,” he said. “It’s time for us to raise our issues and ask each other: How do we fight for our children?”